Sencore – The Gateway to Better Video Delivery – openGear Live & Online, 21 April 2021

Aaron Doughten:
Hey everybody, Aaron Doughten and Seth VerMulm here with Sencore. Just wanted to talk about a couple solutions that we’ve been selling actually for quite a few years, and just give you highlights and updates and things like that and how the openGear solution has kind of helped us create dense solutions and things like that for our customers. Just give a little bit more detail on the two of us. I am Aaron Doughten, a Product Manager for some of the products we’ll be talking about today. My email address is listed there. I’ve been with Sencore for, I think I’ll be in my 11th year. So I’ve been with the company for quite a while, started in sport and kind of worked my way into product management. And so I’m here to present for you today.

Seth VerMulm:
And Seth VerMulm, Senior Product Manager, also been with the company way too long — great company.

But yeah, then working with the openGear products for a number of years, and we’ve really found them to be a great fit for Sencore and our decoders. And just want to tell you all about our successes and some examples and some details about our products.

Aaron Doughten:
So to kick it off to kind of give you an idea of what we’re going to be talking about today, I’m going to dive into our specific solutions using the openGear chassis, we’ll focus on first the 2110 SDI Conversion product. So this is our AG SDI2X is what we call it. So we’ll highlight that. Talk about some of the applications and kind of the unique things that we’ve been seeing with that, especially over the last year or so, then we will dive into our Receiver Decoder Products. I’m pretty sure I make this joke every time I do a presentation with Sencore stuff, but if you’re listening to Sencore, we’ll probably talk about a receiver decoders, definitely kind of our flagship product lines.

We have many successes, lots of different applications. We sell these products into. So Seth and I will be diving into that. And then we will close it out and talk about some of those more. I’d say, I guess, simpler, digital turnaround type applications, but very dense turnaround applications that we do with our digital turnaround products. And then we’ll close it out with a Q & A session just to kind of wrap it up and address the questions that you guys have as we go as we go through this. So it kind of give you a high level overview of how Sencore has been able to utilize the openGear platform. And we’ve been partnered with Ross for many years, but really what it’s providing for Sencore and our customers is just a really dense solution. Regardless if you’re doing 21 10x STI conversion decode, whether that’s a contribution, decoder distribution, decode, or digital turnaround the 2RU chassis it’s modularity, the hotspot ability and just the ability to use multiple products in the same chassis just gives customers a lot of flexibility, reliability.

And then you pair that with, with our own receiver decoder products and turnaround products and things like that. And it just has a very top tier, tier one type solution for just about any of the solutions that we have here. So it’s a really good pairing, I guess, a combination of our powers combined to provide a very powerful solution for our customers when we combine openGear and Sencore. So to kick it off, we’re going to talk about 2110 to SDI Conversion with our AG SDI2X. So this AG SDI2X is a two slot card that is actually a bi-directional converter for SDI two 2110 signals. And I suppose maybe some of you don’t know really, where would you use this? How would you use this? And really what it boils down to is linking those SDI systems that have been around for many years and converting them into 2110 so or 2022-6 for that matter. This card is really aimed at it kind of bridging that gap between the two very different technologies.

One is typically carried on a big BNC cable, whether that’s 3G, SDI, HD, STI, STSTI, what have you. And then converting that into a video over IP signal over, 10GB fiber, anything like that. So this product just very easily allows customers to kind of create an interconnect of sorts using the openGear chassis to do the conversion between the two very different technologies. And thanks to the openGear chassis we were able to do up to 40 of those signal conversions into, are you with an openGear card obviously, is that scalable? You don’t have to fully populate an openGear chassis with the AG SDI2X, but definitely gives you a really dense top of rack kind of turnaround going from SDI to 2110.

We actually do have a kind of a throwdown or a little mini version of this as well, not in the openGear chassis, but it does have a very different and unique application, or we can do the 2110 to HDMI conversion in a little box that straps to a back of a monitor, which is very useful for bringing in 2110 streams, converting them to HDMI and then using just your basic consumer TVs or even existing broadcast monitors doing that conversion kind of saves a lot of customers, some money and it’s very low noise.

So it can actually be right there in the operators. If they’re at a cubicle or if they’re at a monitoring station, wherever the noise is a concern in some of those applications. So we’ve designed it to make sense there. Does have a full support for PHPD PTP synchronization, which is an extremely important part of 2110 systems. And then we are also working on NMOS, ISO4, ISO5 and ISO9 as a transmitter and receiver of 2110 signals. Those will be the pieces of NMOS that will need to be added to our product in order to integrate with a lot of control systems and stuff like that when talking about 2110. So overall just a very powerful dead solution for SDI 221 conversion. And I actually think Jessie at multi-diode might, I think we kind of, at the end of his presentation there, we’ve been kind of talking about doing kind of integrating with their products and actually doing taking SDI from cameras and doing that conversion to 2110.

So like Jesse had mentioned customers already usually have all the SDI equipment and they’ve been using them for a very long time, but the 2110 transport systems on the back end of them are either brand new or coming are coming along probably in the next 6, 9, 12 months or something like that. And a card like this, or a product like this is very useful in order to save some mice. We’re not having to buy completely different camera equipment. We can actually just do the conversion right away on the openGear card or the throw down box. So just kind of some interesting applications and some of the newer technologies that we’re working on with you with the openGear stuff.

All right, so we are going to dive into the AtlasGear Receiver Decoder Platforms, Seth I’ll kind of hand off and go back and forth with this.

We do actually have quite a few different receiver decoders, so we’ll touch on them individually. And then we’ll do a kind of a nice overall comparison of all the different ones. And then we’ll dive into the actual applications, or interesting applications, we’ve run into over the last couple of years and kind of do a deeper dive into that. But the first one is the AG 6000, our, the newest, I guess, of the card-based receiver decoders. So this one is enabling us to do UHD HEVC decoding in the openGear chassis, which is an extremely dense HEVC receiver decoder solution. We actually just introduced a new version of this card that instead of outputting SDI like typical receiver decoders, we’ve actually taken off the, a SDI circuitry and actually replaced that completely with 2110 output ability. So what we did was actually took the SDI or the BNC connectors off and actually slap some 2110 or SL 10 to 10GB SFPs to output 2110.

Now I say we just removed it and slapped them, and I’m sure our engineers are rolling their eyes or shaking their fists at me. It’s not quite that simple, but definitely a very, a powerful, very dense card for 2110 decoding that also supports hitless switching PTP synchronization. NMOS is also on the roadmap, just like with the SDI2X that I was talking about before to be able to integrate with a lot of those 2110 control systems, but looking at other things at the AG 60 or AG 6000 can do, it’s focused at UHD HEVC D code, but we’re able to support H.264 and MPEG2 in this exact same card. So it makes it extremely flexible for customers running into HEVC, H.264 and MPEG2 decoding applications. They can really do it all with one board, which is really great for either contribution or primary distribution monitoring, which I’ll talk a little bit more about that.

And one of the application slides, but just makes it very flexible, able to support the UHD or 4K resolutions as well as HD and SD, 8 channels of audio decoder pass through this still utilizes all of our traditional broadcast type IO boards. So we’ve got MPEG over IP ASI, satellite, which satellite includes DVB S2X, DVS2 and S, so to be able to receive all the flavors of satellite inputs. And then we also have DVB CI for ten modules and smart cards, typically on a North American application, but a very heavily used in Europe and APAC.

And then we do have this 1, 2 and VCA to scrambling, which I think our last get together with the openGear crew, I actually did highlight the VCA to scrambling. And that has been a continually evolving technology. We’ve kind of kept up on that with all of our receiver decoder products. So a self would probably talk about that with some of the other ones as well, but this kind of rounds it out as kind of our latest AG 6000 or I guess, receiver decoder card for the openGear. All right.

Seth VerMulm:
All right. And our two other AtlasGear decoder cards, or the AG 5800 that’s shown here. And then the next one we’ll talk about is the AG 4400. These serve different purposes than each other. And then the AG 6000, the AG 5800 is really focused on contribution feeds. So your 4:2:2 10-bit stadium to studio or other contribution applications where that kind of high quality video is needed to be decoded. And it’s 1080P/60 supports H.264 MPEG2. And just the reputation this product has is it will decode anything you throw at it, within the bounds of its capabilities. These are very robust cards. They’re very easy to use, simple to set up and have appropriate capabilities that go along with the contribution application.

So 1080P/60 16 channels of audio, rather than the 8 and the other two cards simultaneous HD, SD, SDI and HDMI. And then those same satellite terrestrial ASI, and then bigger where IP input and output capabilities that go with this card and our other decoder cards. And as Aaron highlighted, we’ve got the DVB BCI capabilities and have recently added the BISS CA descrambling to support our customers that are making use of that in Newark Contribution Transmissions, where that’s a key requirement and just offers a very dense 10 channels into our you decoding capabilities with this focused on that contribution market.

And then the final, one of our decoders that we want to highlight is the AG 4400. So this is kind of baby brother of the 6000 and Aaron talked about focused on H.264, MPEG2 decoding, not 4:2:2 10-bit it’s traditional distribution formats 4:2:0 8-bit. So, but supports both HD and SD 8 channels. All the typical things you’d expect with the HD SDI connectors, HDMI, the ASI is built in and then the same RF and ASI input and output cards that are supported across our AtlasGear product lines. So just very popular product for us and has a very good reputation for stability and ease of use. You throw a stream at it. It will be coded that’s our reputation, and we stand behind it with, with all of our decoders here.

So, and this slide just highlights some of the connector details that we’ve talked about through the previous three cards and shows kind of the layout of how there’s, two cards sandwiched together. One is the main decoder card with the inputs and outputs for the decoder. And then the daughter card is the RF or IP option that goes on on with that and provides inputs and outputs for the cards. So the different back plates would be provided depending on which configuration is ordered, but you see the ASI-Only 1 there on the left the RF version kind of in the middle there and the IP version on the right. So lots of different options, all based on the same main board decoder board just varies depending on the daughter input card that goes with it. So again, 10 of these in an openGear chassis works very seamlessly and provides a very dense solution there.

Aaron Doughten:
One thing probably worth mentioning is our DVB CI support. Some customers have a question about do you support one cams, two cams? How do I actually get cams in and out of analysis gear chassis, or an openGear chassis? It’s actually quite simple, just open the front, like you would servicing the fan or citing cards in and out of it. And actually the DVB CI cards just slide into your usual PCMCIA slots on the front. And we actually do have two slots there too. So we were able to, if you have a really big satellite signal and you need to throw multiple cams in order to cover the scrambling, all of those services, we can support that for every single card that’s actually in the chassis. It could have up to two of those. So again, chasing that density, right? Driving cost per channel and making sure customers can descramble and decode everything honestly on card.

Yeah. So here’s a nice comparison chart just to kind of give you, I guess, a 10,000 foot overview of kind of the differences and kind of where these cards fit in different applications and things like that, what they AG 6000, that’s actually the only card out of the AtlasGear receiver decoders that supports UHD, but definitely the AG 5800 power is its ability to support 4:2:2 10-bit. So like Seth said, that’s where it steps in and actually does the contribution decode for 4:2:2 10-bit. Also the 16 audio channels are a big deal, too. In many cases, you’re going to be mixing different audio channels and doing positional audio and things like that. And so that’s where the AG 1500 kind of shines. But of course, if the AG 6000 doing that dance UHD HEVC decode, it’s very hard to beat us with regards to pairing that card with the openGear chassis and the AG 4400 is really just a catch all for, I would say primary and secondary distribution.

That thing just the cost per channel with the density of the AtlasGear chassis is pretty unbeatable. And I think as Seth said, send us any stream and we can decode it. We have quite the library of a troubled streams. We’ve gotten from our customers over the some geez 20 years that we’ve probably been doing this. And so we always do all of our testing against those real world streams do all of our development based on that. So, we like to get those kinds of things from the field and make sure we can handle them. So that it’s a plug and play solution, right? That’s what we’re trying to go after. Right?

So some of the more advanced decoder features, or at least some of the things that I think kind of puts us ahead of some of the competition is the caption subtitle on teletext overlays. This is a very complete feature set, being able to support anything from, the North American caption standards, any of the DVB subtitle variations. Teletext actually being able to overlay that video is perfect for monitoring applications. And just about any of that stuff, you can throw at our cards to be able to do that SCTE35 to 104 conversion is extremely important for primary and secondary distribution for ad insertion. And so our cards all support that we also do have a triggered overlay or triggered image overlay. So this is kind of an interesting application where what we can do, or I guess the primary application here is to actually insert station bugs.

So say if you have like a little kind of transparent logo or something like that, you would like to insert in the bottom corner, or actually wherever on the screen, typically in the bottom corner, we can actually trigger that image overlay based on a 35 messages in the incoming stream, or we can actually trigger it either manually by the customer or any of the API is available on the card as well. So this could be a scheduled insertion. It can be done automatically with 35 messages, pretty much any of that kind of stuff. And it can also be used to do a full screen slate insertion as well. So say you have, you don’t want to just put up generic color bars or something like that in case of a switch over, or maybe a signal chain type problem, you can actually throw up kind of your own custom trouble slate if you will, all with that feature and that’s not licensed or anything, it actually just comes on the card.

So that’s a nice freebie for a lot of people. We do support Cablelabs, ESAM. This is kind of I’d say a customized or at least for detailed kind of message insertion app technology, and the receiver decoders. And then we also have MPE De-encapsulation. This is a big one for satellite distribution. So on a lot of cases, satellite providers will actually inject not really video or audio or metadata or anything like that. It’s just kind of its own little separate data stream and this stuff rides along on satellite signals. Well, we can pull that signal out of the actual stream and then create an IP stream on the output of our receiver decoder, just to kind of forward that information along for various applications.

PID filtering, very powerful PID filter option. We’re able to actually create up to four different PID filters on each card, any kind of mix of scrambled, descrambled kind of just a mix and match of different MPEG over IP outputs on the receiver decoder cards. So very powerful feature there. And of course all the cards, natively support, input redundancy, and fail-over so being able to fail over between satellite or IP or IP or ASI or satellite or ASI, any of those kinds of combinations, whatever, essentially whatever input options you’ve got with your cards, you’ll be able to create kind of an input redundancy and fail over scheme or just different methods of failing over, I suppose, just to kind of keep your network up and running.

All right. So we’re going to dive into the actual use cases. I think you’ll probably notice that customer names are left off of this. I think that’s a pretty common thing with presentations like this, but this is kind of an all encompassing application slide for just about all of our cards, but really what I wanted to focus on specifically was just the density of the actual AtlasGear with the openGear chassis, just being able to do the 10 channels of decode and 2RU makes it absolutely perfect for contribution and remote production applications, where you can essentially take every single camera feed that’s coming from your live event and do all of the decodes that you would ever need to do for remote production, whether you’re monitoring those kinds of things, or you’re decoding for reading code applications, any of that kind of stuff, you can take every single signal and you usually have enough decodes in one chassis to be able to handle the entire application, which is absolutely huge.

And then if any of those cards go down or you’re swapping cards for, for different types of applications or just decoding abilities. That’s super easy to do with just being able to pop the front off the chassis, slide a card in and out, you’re up and running in no time. So extremely flexible ways of doing that. And then with regards to contribution and remote production, especially over the last year, we’ve seen a huge uptick in 2110. So replacing your SDI circuits, especially like I sort of contribution to remote production 2110 enables way more flexibility and in production environments. And so our ability to just the 10 channels of decode and output 2110 natively straight out of that chassis has really simplified a lot of our customers’ workflows. Just enabled them to kind of adopt the 2110 technology start using that for production, just been as it has been huge for us.

And then looking at the primary distribution stuff, we have a lot of satellite distribution, IP distribution, and a lot of our customers are our not only the content providers, but they need to monitor their own stuff too. They want to make sure what they’re actually putting up on satellite or back hauling over high bit rate IP is actually good. They actually still need to put eyes and ears on that in a lot of cases. And so on to populate video walls, again, the density of the chassis can not be with the openGear and the AtlasGear, receiver decoders. So populating video walls with live video and audio and allowing operators to put their eyeballs on those things and listen for any kind of lip-sync issues or audio interruptions and stuff like that. Yeah. That’s kind of a huge thing.

And pretty much one of the things I think we’ve sold probably the most AtlasGear cards into that’s really all over the world. I mean, any of these applications are applicable literally anywhere doing live events during the contribution and our production, but then also distributing that content all over a particular continent or a region or something like that, the need to monitor or do the decode and reading code is everywhere. So, extremely flexible.

Seth VerMulm:
All right. And then I’m going to talk about one of our other more recent use cases and that’s low-latency distributions. So, with the increased popularity of online gaming and remote sports betting and things like that, the time of delivery of a signal becomes more critical than ever getting that signal from the production to the viewer and the screen in as short, a time as possible, prevents a lot of complications related to the transactions going on. So a lot of customers choose our decoders for that express purpose.

All of our decoders have built in support for most of the low-latency and coding schemes that are out there. Most of it is just automatic and works without the user, really having to do much of anything within the decoder, but provides latency and decoding latency well under half a second to or even more depending on the encoding scheme. So just Ultra-Reliable decoding, and the density continues to play a key part in all that as well. So you can have multiple views, multiple decodes, all delivered to the end consumers in a record amount of time.

Aaron Doughten:
When there’s money or betting involved at the other end, the need to deliver video increases tenfold. The pressure is very high.

All right. And the final category we’re going to touch on here Sencore also offers our AtlasGear decoder cards without a decoder. So these are used for digital turnaround purposes and make quick simple work of taking those signals and turning them from RF to IP to ASI you name it. So the AG 2600 is the model that covers this application, again, same kind of form factor and structure, and even the same option. Add on cards that we talked about for the decoders, but now without the decoder. So you’re taking in RF satellite, for instance, satellite to IP, satellite to ASI, 8 VSB to IP, just great for signal collection, then signal collection turnaround all of those things. And it has the same capabilities that our decoders have in terms of descrambling in terms of PID filtering. All of those features that are on our decoder cards that are applicable to turnaround applications flow through here as well. So a great option for customers looking for dense digital turnarounds.

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