Configurable, Expandable, Customizable

Multiviewers expand their powers
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Harris' Geospatial Internet Protocol (GIP) multiviewer
Large video walls are evolving into multiviewers that display the interaction of variously tasked sources and systems, managed by a handful of people working towards a common goal. Traditionally used in video production facilities to display live production or post production projects, they're increasingly being used in government, education and corporate applications.

by Robin Berger

And multiviewers' usefulness is enhanced by features that facilitate production of unique views on their respective mandates. For example, noted Hiro Tanoue, president of FOR-A Corp. of America, its multiviewers' display layout editor enables users to create customized "source display sizes, tally information and audio level monitoring."

Other multiviewers include this feature as well as geospatial data links, stereoscopic options and accommodation of compressed HD signals.


At the 2010 NAB Show, Harris Broadcast demonstrated its new Geospatial Internet Protocol multiviewer. "It's a product that lets users link video content with geospatial data," Harris CEO Howard Lance said in his keynote address at the NAB 2010 Military/Government Summit. "Users can see not only the action, but the actual geographic location and characteristics of that location, including where the video feeds are coming from."

This, Lance said, would be particularly useful to military personnel sending or receiving video and location-linked data to and from command centers and battlefield lines. In addition to being able to grab geospatial information (like the source of video) using GPS points, it can store hundreds of stills, provides close captioning and RSS feed (read only) options, and has a library of display layouts.

The technology is also a useful surveillance tool for nonmilitary government clients, said product manager Michael Garrido. Although the product has been optimized for FAME (Full-motion Video Asset Management Engine) platform, he said it can work separately from it, and is compatible with MPEG-4, MPEG-2, JPEG2000 and H.264 formats.

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Miranda Kaleido-X at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command TV studio control room "We grabbed the core code for the [Centrio] product and changed it so it would accept decoded IP signals instead of baseband—now it looks at IP code," he said. A "rules designer" creates the actions; its virtual network connection enables it to control other devices.

At press time, Garrido said that Harris would be demonstrating the technology to special clients in coming months. He expected a formal release in August.


According to Miranda Regional Sales Manager Gwenn Tune, three of that company's new multiviewer products drew the most interest from government sector clients at the NAB Show: the lowercost, 8-input Kaleido KMV; the Kaleido standalone video-to-HDMI converter; and Kaleido's cuttingedge 3D processing capabilities.

"Kaleido's 3D signal display options allow production crews and control rooms to see both the final stereoscopic 3D signal as well as the dual link input for full confidence monitoring," said Tune. "In addition, the Densite 3DX-3901 provides the essential stereoscopic 3D signal processing with conversion to multiple 3D formats, including dual-link 1.5 Gbps, dual-link 3Gbps, single-link 3Gbps, and single-link 1.5 Gbps with side-by-side encoding." She said training and surveillance applications would be the most obvious draw for 3D from government clients.

The stereoscopic and compressed HD video signal options were beyond the scope of one current client, the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command TV studio, which installed its Kaleido-X two years ago.

"We're not capturing a lot from the outside world—we're pretty much self-contained," said Audio Visual Systems Engineer Kevin Crouch, who set up and runs the SDI baseband video sourced (HD-SD) system, which he finds robust and reliable. "Our primary focus is just trying to emulate CNN and FOX News."

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Engineer Dave Sless with the Evertz MVP at the FDA control room The studio webcasts a mock-news ingest into the war games and emergency response scenarios for high-level (two-star generals') command staffs, said Crouch, applications that could reach hundreds of select users.

Crouch upgraded the initial purchase with an embedded audio option. The biggest technology plus for him is the flexibility of the video wall pre-sets for layout—a big improvement over individual monitors.

"We have multiple producers," said Crouch. "They like to see different content in different places on the screen. This is highly reconfigurable."


Introduced five years ago, Evertz' MVP system is modular so users can upgrade to new technologies simply by adding cards to the chassis. This year Evertz introduced a new IP decoder/monitor module for ASI or IP input, enabling it to accommodate analog, HD or compressed signals (H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4) as well as baseband video.

"MVP is attractive to [any] government entity that requires multi-format video displays," said Director of Sales Orest Holyk. "It's all decoded to a single platform."

One MVP user transitioning to HD is the Food and Drug Administration's Division of Communication Media. The group provides training video for personnel and industries seeking to bring their products to market, as well as news appropriate programming for television (such as details of the 2009 peanut butter recall). At press time, MVP was used in the control room to monitor live broadcasts and audio; once the system is upgraded to HD it will also be used in the tape room.

"There's so much capability in that system," said the division's director, Chad Heupel. He estimated that his group tapped maybe 20 percent of the potential so far.

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Like Kaleido-user Crouch of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, Heupel was most impressed by his multiviewer's preset layouts. Quick and easy access to preset layouts through MVP's desktop control panel ensured instant back up should a monitor fail, he said. He also praised MVP's audio monitoring and captioning display.

Unlike Crouch, Heupel saw the potential of a demonstrable stereoscopic option. For example, a 3D rendition could better demonstrate the DNA mapping of a particular virus as it relates to a vaccine submitted to the FDA for evaluation, he said.

Crouch has also set up systems for viewing multiple source displays in Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command meeting rooms.

"We have done four Vista Systems' Spyder installations for large conference room multi-windowing (model 365XO) and six Extron Electronics MGP464DIs for smaller rooms," he said.

Both technologies, he said, "do the job nicely."