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NAB 2011: On Making One Linear Channel into 20+ Video Streams

Just a few years ago, the big topic at the annual National Association of Broadcasters event was the digital transition. In that same time frame, we used to refer to “two screen” and “three screen” environments, to describe the shift of video programming to PCs and smaller screens.

All of that seems quaint now, in hindsight. The digital transition happened, without a lot of fanfare, in July of 2009; now, the number of screens capable of displaying television and video streams is into the double and triple digits.

Indeed, today’s all-digital marketplace is placing new challenges on the shoulders of the nation’s broadcasters.


John Bishop, Sr. VP of Business Development & Strategy for Inlet Technologies, now a part of Cisco, talks about Inlet’s multi-screen delivery and monetization and how these will add to Cisco’s offering.

For starters, today’s broadcast and cable networks are being asked to deliver one linear channel in as many as 30 different versions, because of the plethora of adaptive streaming methods in market. One linear stream might need to be encoded in to eight versions for Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), six to eight for Adobe Flash, and so on for Microsoft Silverlight and other emerging platforms.

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Jewel: Up Close and Personal at NAB 2011

This Wednesday, April 13, at 2:00pm PDT, singer and songwriter Jewel will be performing a solo, acoustic set, live, to attendees of the National Association of Broadcasters convention, in Las Vegas. And to viewers in Chicago, and Dallas, and New York. And in Atlanta, Miami, Washington, D.C. and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Live simulcast? Not really. More, the show is another example of how Cisco TelePresence technology and intelligent networking are bringing people together - audiences and artists, in this case - through video. It’s a collaboration between us (for the TelePresence components), AT&T (for intelligent TelePresence connectivity) and Marriott (which operates TelePresence viewing rooms throughout the world.)

Here’s how it works: Jewel sings, in our San Jose TV studio. Video capture moves through two TelePresence codecs, then through AT&T TelePresence Bridges, to link to the multiple receive sites. Simultaneously, the video moves through a Ustream encoder, for live streaming on the Web and any type of display screen.

Those of you who know Jewel know that she doesn’t believe in a set list of songs, performed in sequential order. Rather, and from her childhood experiences performing on the road with her father, she prefers to read her audiences -- to feel them out for the right song mix.

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Welcome to NAB 2011

I wanted to take a moment and extend a brief welcome from Cisco’s booth at the 2011 National Association of Broadcasters Show, happening this week in Las Vegas.

Hear about our extended adaptive bit rate work with AEG Digital Media, as well as what the Cisco booth holds in terms of Videoscape cloud technologies for content management and video transcoding,  digital watermarking, TelePresence for broadcast networks, and rich media delivery to TV screens.

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NAB: New Tools for News Gathering

Next week is the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, I thought it timely to look into some of the ways in which technology is intersecting with the business of video broadcasting.

Going on location to capture a news event, as one example, used to be about getting a truck there in time, setting up a remote studio, and everything that goes along with that: Travel time, travel costs, and the setup logistics that almost always add latency to the process. Every minute spent getting on-air is a minute not spent airing a live event, as any broadcast news editor will attest.

But as the world of IP intersects more deeply with the world of video, it’s becoming much easier, faster and cost-effective to capture and transmit live news. Here’s a few examples, all based around the Cisco TelePresence EX Series:

  • CNN’s coverage of the 2010 mid-term elections used EX90s to bring in on-air commentators James Carville (broadcasting from his home in New Orleans) and David Gergon (via his Harvard University office). In essence, the technology enabled CNN to quickly and easily take the studio to the talent, not the other way around. CNN got quick, on-air expertise; Carville and Gergon got to save time and travel expenses by working locally.
  • MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show regularly uses the EX-90 to capture live 1:1 interviews, extending the studio virtually as if the guest was physically present.
  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) put up a circular kiosk, outfitted with a TelePresence screen, during a fan appreciation event in Phoenix. Fans were able to talk live with their favorite players, in a “you are there” setting.

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