The author is
trustee of the Ennes Educational Foundation Trust.
My computer monitor has been “temporarily” perched
on a copy of “The Cellular Roaming Handbook” since I
received the book a
quarter century ago. Now who among us even remembers what cellular roaming was,
or why it was important to a broadcast engineer?
Ennes program includes hard-core material as well as ‘breath mints,’ shorter,
often whimsical topics on diverse topics.
For more than a few years, I’ve been lucky enough to help
put together a
program that has come to be the largest yearly gathering of broadcast engineers
in one room, at least on this continent. I know that reading this article is
the point at which many broadcast engineers decide whether going to NAB at all,
not to mention whether to attend sessions on a Saturday, is worth the political
capital and out-of-pocket funds.
I could go on about the things we all know
are true: fewer people doing more work, the “always on”
nature of our life, the
changes in distribution and technology that seem slow and distant …
then, as if
overnight, these new distribution means appear in our rearview mirror and we
I’m seeing my roaming book/monitor perch as
metaphor. I’m going to NAB to learn about what’s next. I
was thinking that this
year’s program was the most radically different; but it’s
not. In my tenure
working on the Ennes/NAB/PBS educational program, no two years looked more than
vaguely alike, because each year we ask, “What is it broadcast
need to know?”
year, whether you’re a front-line tech setting up encoders, a manager
negotiating for content delivery network services, an architect integrating new
distribution or a visionary leading the charge, the thing we most need to become
comfortable with is migrating our content to the world beyond transmitters and
the multichannel video program delivery platforms that reach the vast majority
of our viewers and listeners.
The title of the Ennes
Workshop is “Alternate Broadcast Delivery: How to Make It
Saturday we start with a two-hour tutorial on streaming media. This year we are
pleased to have Jan Ozer, an author certain to be found several times over on the
bookshelves of streaming-aware broadcast engineers. Jan appears at virtually
every streaming media industry event, teaches streaming and video production
and is a contributing editor to Streaming
Media magazine and OnlineVideo.net;
he also blogs for other outlets. He has written or co-authored approximately 15
books on digital video-related topics, including “Video Compression
for Flash, Apple
Devices and HTML5,” published in 2011.
attendees know that we work in a few brief “breath mints”:
whimsical topics related if not directly relevant to broadcast.
first is John Footen’s argument that viewership habits are not so
generation but age. Will millennials tweet in old age? John is with Cognizant
Technology Solutions. Along the same line, Radio World contributor James
introduces us to the late Granville Klink, certainly one of the most
fascinating people in this broadcast engineering business; what a legacy.
Then there is Jake Sigal of Livio Radio, who loves his smartphone,
music, driving and being available for contact at all times through all media;
what he doesn’t love is that every single app, phone and car is
reaching him in
complicated ways, resulting in what he sees as the macro issue of our times:
love the breath mints. Broadcast engineering is more than wire and protocols.
Television and radio stations, more often than not, have use of
within a DMA or other geographical area. While multichannel video program
delivery platforms can “black out” physical areas,
it’s not so easy to control
distribution of Internet-delivered content.
Garin, senior director of Qualcomm’s Technology, Position and
Department, presents a tutorial on the technology and options for geo-location
of devices receiving content.
regarding the movement of content within the facility, some anticipate a day
Cat-6 cable all but replaces coax. Belden’s Steve Lampen, SBE
Educator of the
Year, unveils a tutorial on Audio Video Bridging, which is contending to be a
part of this transition. He’ll discuss AVB routing, timing and why
technology might find significant use in AV and eventually production and
might also answer interoperability questions for digital packet switched audio
in radio and television facilities. Kevin Gross of AVA Networks has been
on this with AES and SMPTE, and will teach us about this up-and-coming standard
intended to end the proliferation of standards for audio distribution.
too is seeing a transition, not just from analog to QAM, but to IP
distribution. Cable represents a large piece of a broadcaster’s
and interfacing and working with this evolving delivery platform should be high
on any engineer’s list of topics to follow. So Vang, vice president
of video technology for Cable Television Laboratories
Inc. (CableLabs), presents the seminar.
Moving content on the Internet presents more options than one might
think. John Maniccia of Octoshape talks about a unique approach to over-the-top
video delivery and video delivery to multiple screens in an effort to enable
and offer large-scale, high-quality networks. Moving content to the user
via “over the top” or OTT also presents options. Skitter is
an up-and-coming potential
participant in the broadcast/OTT space.
Robert Saunders, president of Skitter, we share lessons learned building an OTT
platform and the opportunities for broadcasters.
With ever more protocols, players and formats for video distribution,
each having their sweet spot in the ecosystem, it seems that the sheer quantity
might be one of the biggest impediments to Internet distribution. MPEG-DASH,
the first adaptive bit rate HTTP international standard, may well play a role
in our OTT puzzle. Kevin Streeter, senior architect of Adobe Primetime,
presents the concluding session of the day.
the full list of Ennes Workshop topics and other Broadcast Engineering
Conference sessions at www.nabshow.com/2013/education/conferences/.