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NAB 2016: DTV Audio Group Annual Meet Drills Down on IP

By Dan Daley, Audio Editor, Sports Video Group

The DTV Audio Group’s annual meeting — a small but intense conclave of top-tier broadcast audio professionals, held on the eve of the NAB Show — doesn’t officially set an audio agenda for the convention, but it often accurately anticipates what the industry will face at the Las Vegas Convention Center. That’s what it did this year, with its focus on the incipient virtualization of much of the broadcast process, from content creation to delivery.

DTV AG Executive Director Roger Charlesworth pointed out that virtualization, which is converting hardware-based processes to software in all aspects of industry, is accelerating in broadcasting. “On the infrastructure side, we’re moving away from hardware with a specific function and moving towards ‘soft’ networked infrastructure,” he told the audience of about 75 attendees, including sponsors Calrec, DAD, Dale Pro Audio, Dolby, JBL, Lawo, Linear Acoustic/Telos Alliance, Sanken, and Studer. This, he continued, applies as well to broadcast audio: “Advanced surround is no longer channel-based but being rendered into objects placed appropriately for the environment. We’re seeing the transition to networked [signal] transport for audio and video.”

One network engineering VP looked ahead to the next decade, when broadcast data centers would be indistinguishable from those of Google or Amazon. Virtualization there would allow those centers to scale their processing as needed, giving networks operational flexibility. And that scaling would extend to the hybrid cloud, with processing also taking place in remote servers when additional power was needed. We needn’t look too far into the future to see this in action, he said, pointing out that the most recent Super Bowl used live IP routing, as will the upcoming U.S. Open golf tournament.

Speed bumps on the way to virtualized production remain, however, mainly because of the absence of universally accepted standards and protocols. It’s an initiative being undertaken by the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS) and its initial emphasis on VSF TR-03 and TR-04, SMPTE 2022-6, and AES67 protocols. That approach differs from that of the ASPEN Group (Adaptive Sample Picture Encapsulation), which promotes uncompressed UHD/3G/HD/SD over MPEG-2 transport streams, although some key members of ASPEN have also backed AIMS. As next-generation audio formats emerge, industry consensus on IP transport will become more critical.

The recent evolution of audio-networking formats was cited as an example of how market forces can come up against open-standards approaches for finding consensus. Ravenna, Dante, and AES67 can coexist on the same network, one presenter pointed out, but that’s not the same thing as interoperability, which depends on a number of factors, including choices that individual manufacturers make even when adapting the same formats into their products.

But, when all the pieces fall into place, the benefits are substantial. One manufacturer cited a leading European motorsports network that needed a wide variety of system configurations for various events. Networked audio scaled easily, let them put microphones where and when they were needed, and reduced the production footprint while also reducing costs.

An update on wireless reallocation under the spectrum auction that began this month laid out the not so good that goes along with the good: more non-professional users gained access to remaining UHF spectrum, further diminishing what’s left for broadcast users; on the other hand, new products that leverage the GHz range are coming to market, offering a new avenue for professional wireless users.

2016 DTV Audio Production and Distribution Seminar at the NAB Show

The DTV Audio Group, in association with the SVG, invites you to attend the 2016 DTV Audio Production and Distribution Seminar at NAB. Registration for this free-of-charge event is now open, and all members of the digital television audio community are invited to attend. Date: Sunday, April 17, 2016 Time: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM Location: […]


SVG Summit: DTV Audio Group Talks Objects, IP

By Dan Daley, Audio Editor, Sports Video Group Picking up near where it left off during its conclave at the AES Show in October, the DTV Audio Group’s Audio Production and Distribution Workshop on Dec. 14 during the SVG Summit continued a conversation on object-based audio and the workflows around IP transport of audio. DTV […]


Alliance for IP Media Solutions Launched to Promote Open Standards and Interoperability in IP for Broadcasters, Including Audio

The following Press Release was issued yesterday by the Alliance for IP Media Solutions (AIMS): Leading media suppliers come together to ensure an easier transition to IP by supporting VSF TR-03/-04, SMPTE 2022-6 and AES67 BOTHELL, WA, December 14, 2015 — A group of broadcast and media industry suppliers including Grass Valley, Imagine Communications, Lawo, […]


Tech Focus: Surround Microphones

By Dan Daily, Audio Editor, Sports Video Group Part 1 — Next-Generation Audio Immersiveness Nears, or Not More than a decade has passed since broadcast audio moved into the surround era. Today, it’s poised on the brink of next-generation audio (NGA) immersiveness. Yet the dedicated surround microphone remains a unique niche in pro audio in […]


The Accelerating Pace of Change in Television Audio

AES New York 2015 DTVAG AES Forum Presented on Friday, October 30, 1:00 pm — 5:00 pm (Room 1A14) Keynote Speaker: Tom Sahara, Turner Sports Vice President, Operations and Technology, Turner Sports – Atlanta, GA, USA & Chairman, Sports Video Group The Accelerating Pace of Change in Television Audio Download presentation: 2015AES_Keynote_TomSahara What Just Happened? […]


DTV Audio Group Readies for ‘Period of Intense Change’

By Dan Daley, Audio Editor, Sports Video Group DTV Audio Group Executive Director Roger Charlesworth’s opening remarks for the organization’s Oct. 30 event, co-located with the AES Show at New York’s Javits Convention Center, applied equally to the agenda at hand and to the group’s larger purpose. “We set out to create a conversation,” he […]


DTV Audio Group at AES: The Accelerating Pace of Change in Television Audio

AES 139, New York 2015 DTV Audio Group at AES: The Accelerating Pace of Change in Television Audio Friday, October 30, 2015 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The transition to streamed content delivery over fixed and mobile devices continues to gather steam. In the process, viewers’ expectations of how, when, and where they consume content […]


Demonstrations Show Off Potential of ATSC 3.0 Audio Standard

By: Dan Daley, Audio Editor, Sports Video Group The two platforms vying to become the audio element for the ATSC 3.0 standard showed their stuff during a four-day demonstration exhibition in Atlanta in July. Dolby Labs (AC-4 ) and the MPEG-H Audio Alliance (MPEG-H) let ATSC members and other invited guests kick the tires a […]


Remote Audio Consoles

By Dan Daley, Audio Editor, Sports Video Group Part 1 — The Future Is in IT For years, the audio console was the center of the universe in music recording. Individual rooms within large facilities would become tropes of the brand or model installed in them, differentiating the “Neve room” from the “9K room” regardless […]


AES Announces Social Program for 59th International Conference, on Sound Reinforcement Engineering and Technology

The AES 59th International Conference, with an emphasis on Sound Reinforcement Engineering and Technology, will be taking place July 15-17, 2015, at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. This is the first AES International Conference in over 25 years dedicated to Large Scale Sound Reinforcement, Public Address, and Live Sound, and naturally the tutorials, workshops, demonstrations and […]


DTV Audio Group Wraps Series of Meets on Spectrum Ideas

By Dan Daley, Audio Editor, Sports Video Group The DTV Audio Group held a series of meetings in June, between constituents and stakeholders in the impending auction-based reallocation of RF spectrum, and with the FCC and its Office of Engineering Technology (OET), to present ideas on alternative spectrum assignments for licensed users of professional wireless […]