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Tech Roundup: PTZ Cameras, Capture, and Streaming Devices 2020

PTZ cameras and streaming devices are more important than ever and there is a lot going on to meet the times. Manufacturers are bringing out new options, repurposing existing ones, and adding features to better support work-from-home and streaming to both videoconferencing and social platforms for the way we work and communicate now.

In July, ARISTA announced the RS-124-31 Series IP Flash Caster product line. With six models, the IP Flash Caster family lets installers and system integrators replace proprietary AV matrix switches with off-the-shelf Ethernet switches. The RS-124-31 Series is a 1U rackmount line that can be configured with either dual SDVoE encoders / decoders with Copper or Fiber interface and a variety of different video signal format inputs and outputs. The IP Flash Caster RS-124-31 Series is an end-to-end system for AV and KVM signal extension, IP-based switching, video wall and multi-view functionality. The product line provides support for HDMI 2.0a, HDR, high-fidelity video scaling, windowing and audio down-mixing, broadcast quality scaling, visually indistinguishable light-compression, multi-source video compositing, video splitting, color space conversion, framerate conversion, audio embedding / de-embedding, audio down-mixing and audio re-sampling. Features include multi-view, PIP, and PAP capabilities, video wall processing, USB, RS-232, IR extension and switching capability, and the ability to provide 1GbE Ethernet over 10GbE Network. Available Q3.

The AutoTracker 3 from 1 Beyond combines the ability to zoom into detail while still using an unattended camera. It does this by using facial recognition to automatically follow the established subject around the room with adjustable tracking settings. This feature can be turned off to use manual operation with a joystick, an AV control system on RS-485/232 or network with standard VISCA commands. Control and power (PoE) are received on a single twisted pair Ethernet cable. The device is actually two cameras with separate HD video outputs from the wide angle and PTZ camera.

In June, AJA Video Systems released Ki Pro GO v2.0 firmware for its popular Ki Pro GO portable multi-channel H.264 recorder and player. The update introduces enhancements for improved H.264 recording quality and reliability, including recording support for up to 25 Mbps, 10-bit and 4:2:2 color space, in addition to new expanded timecode capabilities with LTC, enhanced super out and front panel audio monitoring, in-system drive formatting, network file downloads, and gang recording support. The new firmware also provides 4:2:2 color space and 10-bit options. Users can now choose from five recording settings optimized for different types of content. The new firmware supports gang support, improved monitoring, additional timecode choices, and in-system media formatting and network file downloading, eliminating the need for a separate PC. Also in June, AJA introduced the Ki Pro Ultra 12G, a new multi-channel HD recorder and 4K/UHD recorder/player with 12G-SDI connectivity and a host of powerful features. It offers single-channel 4K/UHD at up to 50/60p for recording and playback to and from Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHR, with flexible connectivity options including 12G-SDI, HDMI v2.0 (with HFR 4:4:4 and HDR capabilities) and optional fibre input and outputs. Alternatively it provides up to four channels of simultaneous HD recording up to 1080 50/60p with independent ProRes profiles per channel. It supports high dynamic range, with HLG and HDR10 recording and playback. The unit can display multi-matrix HD video for up to four channels during record over SDI monitor out, HDMI out, and on the built-in display. There is also multi-channel audio support (up to 64 channels) via embedded SDI or HDMI, AES/EBU and analogue, with enhanced super out and front panel audio monitoring.

Atlona has expanded the HDVS-CAM family of PTZ cameras with two new camera models that are purpose-built for HDBaseT and HDMI interfacing. The Atlona HDVS-CAM family is aimed at UCC systems as well as lecture capture and distance learning. The two new models are native 1080@60Hz, include auto-focusing, a quick pan-and-tilt mechanism with minimal noise and are available in black or white. Both cameras also offer effective upgrades to existing codecs in legacy videoconferencing systems, delivering high-quality imaging performance and installation ease. The AT-HDVS-CAM-HDMI features an HDMI output plus a USB 2.0 interface for video and camera control, with simultaneous video output available over both interfaces to support conferencing and lecture capture, or a legacy hardware codec alongside modern software video conferencing. The AT-HDVS-CAM-HDBT features an HDBaseT output for extending video, power and camera control over distances up to 330 feet (100 meters), and enables simple, clean connectivity over category network cabling. This camera simplifies remote interfacing with HDBaseT switchers and extenders.

In July, AVer announced two cameras suited to the times. AVer designed the AI-driven TR310 AI Auto Tracking Distance Learning Camera for the evolving K-12 distance-learning classroom. The TR310 utilizes advanced AI to automatically detect the teacher’s movement in the classroom, allowing them to focus on curriculum instead of worrying about staying within the camera’s view. Also in July, the company announced the TR311HN AI Auto Tracking 12X NDI PTZ Streaming camera. The automated TR311HN helps organizations to operate the many cameras they need for teaching, collaborating and training in a remote-based world. The camera features 12X optical zoom and 12x digital zoom, full HD 1080p60 and also utilizes AI auto tracking without the need of a camera operator. The click-to-track/remote control interface offers two specific modes, Presenter Tracking (full or half body) and Zone Tracking without requiring any physical lanyard. The TR311HN supports the latest NDI|HX2 protocol and includes three outputs with HDMI, NDI/IP & USB. The camera offers low-latency NDI video, audio line-in for HDMI and NDI/IP streams and Power over Ethernet (PoE+) and tally light support. The camera can be operated with AVer’s free EZLive application for Windows or Mac or many commercial software platforms for capture, recording and livestreaming during real-time video conferencing.

For powerful and portable streaming, the Impulse single-channel streamer/recorder from AVPro Edge can stream and simultaneously record directly to a SD card or USB flash drive. The Impulse features HDMI, component and SDI inputs, SDI output, direct audio input and an RS-232 port. Capable of handling video signals at a resolution up to 1080p, the device’s capabilities include H.264 & H.265 encoding. The USB port is on the front panel along with an LCD screen with navigation buttons for setup and operation. There is also an LED indicator that changes colors to indicate operational status. The RJ-45 port allows it to be set up and managed on IP with a web browser.

Barix has upgraded its affordable Instreamer ICE audio-over-IP encoder to enable simpler installation and is offering new customers a free audio-streaming service for their websites through September. Barix’s Instreamer ICE was originally designed to encode high-quality, bandwidth-efficient AAC+ or MP3 streams for Icecast-based streaming applications, such as Internet radio and multisite audio distribution. Streams can be sent to an external Icecast system or third-party service provider for unlimited propagation, or they can be distributed directly to up to 100 listeners via the unit’s built-in Icecast server. The updates to Instreamer ICE help users overcome firewall issues and user limits, enabling them to deploy the unit for streaming audio through their website in less than 30 minutes. Barix provides the customer with a configuration file comprising customized streaming parameters. The user simply plugs a microphone or audio console into the analog input of the encoder, connects the device to the Internet, and loads the configuration file. The audio stream is now ready, and, once a button for it has been placed on the organization’s website, visitors can start listening.

In July, Blackmagic Design announced ATEM Streaming Bridge, a new converter that lets customers receive a H.264 stream from any ATEM Mini Pro switcher and convert it back to SDI and HDMI video. This means customers can send video to remote locations around their local Ethernet network, or via the Internet globally. Setup is easy as the ATEM software utility can create setup files that customers can email to remote ATEM Mini Pro studios. ATEM Streaming Bridge is the perfect way to use ATEM Mini Pro as a remote broadcast studio. ATEM Mini switchers make it easy to create professional multi camera productions for live streaming to YouTube and innovative business presentations using Skype or Zoom. Simply connect ATEM Mini and customers can switch live between 4 high quality video camera inputs for dramatically better quality images. Or connect a computer for PowerPoint slides or gaming consoles. The built in DVE allows picture in picture effects, perfect for commentary. There are loads of video effects too. All ATEM Mini Pro models have live streaming, which can be used to connect directly to the ATEM Streaming Bridge. There’s also HDMI out for projectors. Microphone inputs allow high quality desktop and lapel mics for interviews and presentations.

Among the advanced MIC IP family of motion cameras from Bosch Communications is the MIC IP fusion 9000i with optical and thermal imaging, 30x zoom, intelligent tracking, metadata fusion and analytics while moving. Capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions and impacts, the camera is also resistant to vibration. All MIC IP cameras offer Intelligent Dynamic Noise Reduction and intelligent streaming, combined with H.265 video compression. The system can capture images through smoke, complete darkness and in foliage. Installers can pre-configure the MIC IP cameras while they are still in the box and mount them in minutes.

ClearOne has the solution for sending Ultra HD 4K video between conference rooms with the UNITE 50 4K ePTZ Camera. Capable of a 120-degree field of view, 3x digital zoom and auto focus, the camera also features a USB 3.0 port for video and power. It also has super-high signal-to-noise ratio with advanced 2D and 3D noise reduction. Control is done through an IR remote or UVC protocol. Perfect for meeting rooms, huddle spaces and executive offices, the UNITE 50 4K ePTZ Camera can integrate an existing audio system for a perfect fit to the room. ClearOne also tapped into the work-from-home trend with a webcam announced in April. The UNITE 20 Pro Webcam brings pro web collaboration options to what we are now calling “personal conference spaces.” The UNITE 20 Pro Webcam easily mounts on a PC or laptop to provide a full 1080p30 image with an ultra wide-angle field-of-view up to 120°. It’s compatible with ClearOne’s COLLABORATE Space, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, and others. It can also be paired with a ClearOne CHAT 50 or CHAT 150 speakerphone for quality video and audio.

The DM-TXRX-100-STR HD H.264 streaming transmitter/receiver from Crestron is designed to work with a DigitalMedia switcher with one or more streaming inputs or outputs and it can operate with other systems as well transporting all video, audio, control, and power signals through a single PoE LAN connection. The system supports streaming input or output at resolutions up to HD 1080p and bitrates up to 25 Mbps while the sound uses AAC audio compression for stereo. Unicast and multicast streaming are supported, with or without RTSP. The RTSP can be used to manage the configuration of numerous connections automatically.

In late August, Extron announced that its newest StudioStation One Touch Recording and Streaming Solution is now available. Simple to use, StudioStation empowers instructors and presenters to record and stream high quality content with a single touch. Extron designed StudioStation so that anyone, of any skill level, can quickly and easily record and stream content; a pre-configured package takes the guesswork out of designing, installing, and programming a recording system. For customers wanting to customize StudioStation for their application, an interactive, online, step-by-step StudioStation Builder navigation tool is available.

The Hanwah Techwin QNP-6230RH PTZ camera has a maximum 2 megapixel (1920 x 1080) resolution, 23x zoom lens and a maximum viewable IR distance of over 300ft. Other features include Intelligent Analytics, H.265, H.264 and MJPEG codec support, IP66 weather protection and MicroSD / SDHC / SDXC memory. Imaging is provided by a 1/2.8in. 2MP CMOS chip that shows color in light down to 0.05Lux. Video output formats include a wide range of resolution capability and there is web connectivity that is compatible with many browsers. The body is ivory and the head is black plastic.

The plug-and-play Jabra PanaCast features panoramic 4K video using its three integral 13-magapixel cameras and patented real time video stitching. These provide a full 180-degree view of the conference room or huddle room. The Intelligent Zoom automatically includes all local participants in the room even under challenging lighting conditions. The unit is connected to a laptop or computer’s USB port and it’s ready to go immediately providing data and information via API. The camera system can be wall or stand mounted and it is designed to operate perfectly with a Jabra Speak Series speakerphone.

In April, JVC Professional Video launched the GY-HM250 Series 4K handheld cameras with built-in lower thirds, to give users a pro option for streaming directly to Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and other CDNs. JVC’s ongoing collaboration with the Facebook Live technology team enables users to log in to their Facebook account directly from the camera and publish livestreams with a push of the button, no PC or outboard encoders needed. For those that need to stream from a fully-remote PTZ, JVC’s KY-PZ100 has received a firmware update that adds the RTMPS protocol for live streaming to Facebook. This PTZ camera was already network-focused, utilizing an IP communications engine to support network connection via Wi-Fi, 4G-LTE, or cabled LAN. It can be deployed as a standalone remote camera or as part of a multi-camera system. In addition to its 3G-SDI and HDMI outputs, it is also capable of reliably streaming 1080i/60, 1080p, 720p, and 360p video with 2-channel audio. It supports Zixi and SMPTE 2022 QoS, along with the new RTMPS support.

The KDS-EN6 encoder from Kramer Electronics does 4K@60Hz (4:2:0) video streaming in addition to audio, IR, RS−232, USB on IP networks in unicast or multicast through RTSP. Sound is input on the HDMI or through the direct audio 3.5mm line-in port. The unit can handle 7.1 PCM, Dolby True–HD, and DTS–HD Master audio. The system is HDCP 2.2 compliant and it can run on an external power supply or PoE. The RS-232 port is on a terminal block and the IR connection is a 3.5mm mini jack. The front panel includes a reset button, up and down buttons and 7-segment display along with status, link and power LEDs.

In May, Magewell expanded the recording and live streaming capabilities in their Ultra Stream Encoders; a free firmware update adds new recording modes for internal and USB storage, RTSP protocol support, and more. Magewell designed the Ultra Stream to make live streaming remarkably simple even for non-professional and first-time users, enabling them to record or stream high-quality video with one click using on-device buttons, a browser-based web interface or a smartphone app. In addition to streaming live to popular services or a custom server, Ultra Stream encoders (HDMI or SDI) can record video as files to a directly connected USB drive, internal storage, or an associated smartphone. The new update enables recording to the device’s built-in storage or attached USB drive with a choice of two modes. The default method stops recording if storage becomes full, while a continuous, loop-like recording mode automatically deletes the oldest saved clip to make room when storage fills up. The 1.3 firmware upgrade also adds a user-selectable Auto-Recording option that automatically starts recording to internal storage, a USB drive, or both when a stable input signal is detected. This enables “zero-touch” recording. The new update also adds support for the RTSP alongside Ultra Stream’s existing RTMP capabilities. Other enhancements include expanded controls in the web-based interface; new tools for downloading recorded clips; and image adjustments including brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue.

In August, Marshall Electronics announced that in response to the increased global demand for remote streaming and collaboration, the company had enhanced the 3GSDI/HDMI to USB 3.0 converter product category. The VAC-23SHU3 USB 3.0 adapter enables any HDMI or 3G/HD-SDI video and audio source to be ingested into a computer for live streaming, video conference, collaboration, video production, and recording. These converters are simple to use and integrate with professional video sources and the user’s choice of PC-based soft codecs and applications. In April, Marshall Electronics also debuted four new HD and UHD IP zoom cameras that support streaming and Facebook: the CV730-BK, CV630-IP PTZ, CV420-30X-IP and CV355-30X-IP. In July, the range expanded to include the CV420-18X and CV355-10X zoom block cameras.

In July, Matrox announced the availability of the Matrox Monarch EDGE 4K/multi-HD encoder and decoder offering for next-level remote production (REMI) workflows. An essential platform for REMI and at-home productions, Monarch EDGE technology delivers low-latency 4:2:2 10-bit video at resolutions up to 3840x2160p60 or quad 1920x1080p60 over a standard one Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) network. Monarch EDGE includes next-generation connectivity—including 12G-SDI and SMPTE ST 2110 over 25 GbE connections—while supporting the popular MPEG-2, RTSP, and SRT streaming protocols. Equipped with tally signaling and talkback functionality, Monarch EDGE allows live event producers to optimize resources by keeping more staff and equipment in-house while providing broadcast-grade viewing experiences.

In April, NewTek announced that the TriCaster Mini 4K had been enhanced with software features to better allow users to reach audiences from anywhere. Updates include new automation and remote control features including Live Story Creator and LivePanel, which complement existing virtual sets, remote guest calling, social media integration, web broadcasting and more.  Virtual sets allow users to turn any living room, garage, or basement into a professional studio reflecting the identity or brand of any business, house of worship, school or agency. Broadcast graphics, media playback, one touch automated control, multi-channel remote Skype video calling, integrated replay, social media integration and more are all delivered at up to full UHD p60 resolution. The new Live Story Creator allows an individual to run an entire production from a Microsoft Word document; a script triggers actions when loaded into the TriCaster Mini 4K, allowing the storyteller to concentrate solely on delivery of the message rather than on technical setup and production. The LivePanel feature introduces customizable, browser-based remote control of the TriCaster Mini 4K from anywhere on the same local area network, letting anyone including the presenter control live switching, compositing, mix/effects, media playback, audio, automation and more, from devices including tablets, smartphones and laptops. Configurable macros are now also supported. Two channels of Skype input allows simultaneous guest contributors to participate from their studios, laptops or phones across the globe, all presented with broadcast graphics for titles, double box effects and more. TriCaster Mini 4K will also ship with two recently announced Spark Plus IO 4K p60 encode/decode converters, enabling IP-based, NDI-first workflows using existing inputs and outputs.

In May, Panasonic announced the AW-UE100 integrated PTZ camera, which supports a wide variety of IP transmission protocols, including high-bandwidth NDI (4K/60p at approximately 250 Mbs and HD at 100 Mbps), high-efficiency NDI|HX, and Secure Reliable Transport (SRT). A newly designed direct drive motor supports smooth pan and tilt movement. Panning range is ±175° and tilting range is -30° to 210°. The camera has a 1/2.5-type 4K MOS sensor and offers a wide variety of interfaces including 12G-SDI, 3G-SDI, HDMI and IP. For capturing images in tight spaces to large venues, the UE100 has a wide-angle lens with a horizontal angle of view of 74.1 degrees and a 24x optical zoom. Its FreeD output enables connection with AR/VR systems and allows camera tracking information (pan/tilt/zoom/focus/iris) to easily build systems without an encoder. The inclusion of a Direct Drive mechanism with roll compensation improves stillness and quietness during pan/tilt operations. RTMP/RTMPS function provides direct streaming via a single cable to live broadcasting services such as YouTube Live and Facebook Live.

In June, at InfoComm Connected, Sonic Foundry announced a powerful new video capture app, Mediasite Mosaic. It’s aimed at our digital-first reality that includes a mix of flipped lectures and real-time discussions and the possibility of indefinite remote work situations. The lightweight app, when combined with Mediasite Video Platform, allows users to create videos, screencasts and slideshows with just one click from any device, using their built-in webcams and microphones. Users can capture dual video, single video or audio only, and add additional media like PowerPoints, links, quizzing and other engagement features. Users can record online or offline, preview, and publish anytime. They can record video with a built-in camera or other USB cameras; record an iPad display using Sidecar and Apple Pencil. Mediasite Mosaic can also be used to manage content created with other systems such as Mediasite, Zoom, WebEx, Teams, LMSs, etc. Mediasite Mosaic monitors when new content is being created on a user’s device, giving them the option to automatically upload all of their meeting recordings, corporate communications, trainings, and video lectures created on other platforms automatically into Mosaic into one secure, searchable place.

In late August, Sony announced that the free V2.1 firmware upgrade to the BRC-X1000/1, BRC-X1000/WPW and BRC-H800/1, BRC-H800/WPW will allow producers and operators to simplify their VR/AR production workflows with support for Free-D protocol. Through this update, the BRC cameras will output tracking data over IP, using the industry standard Free-D protocol. This enables the cameras to directly feed in real time the pan, tilt, zoom, focus and iris, as well as the position of the BRC Camera, making simple and cost effective VR/AR production without additional tracking devices or systems. This new feature will allow productions to easily incorporate VR/AR into their live content, such as expanded sets or scenery, live animations, e-sports and graphic overlays, enriching their production. Free-D protocol is an industry standard, supported by major AR/VR solutions providers. BRC-X1000 and BRC-H800 are currently under verification with The Future Group (Pixotope), Reckeen, Vizrt, and Zero Density, and plan to support integration with other partners implementing Free-D data. As social distancing and reduced operational crews increase, the update will also improve the Pan/Tilt/Zoom operations of the BRC-X1000 and BRC-H800. A reduced minimum speed more accurate tracking and more realistic, smoother output. Additionally, the cameras will now focus as soon as the preset is recalled, at the same time as the PTZ function, to enable more natural camera movements. Control when using a physical remote controller such as a pan-bar one will also be supported.

In March, TEKVOX introduced two easy-to-use Live Streaming Mobile Kits for quickly equipping any room with live-streaming capabilities.  No professional installation is required. The 71206-DI and 71208-DI Drop-In solutions are affordable, professional-quality, self-contained packages suitable for any space. They are pre-programmed and mounted and with minimal cabling. The two Live Streaming Mobile Kits have similar specifications, with the 71206-DI offering a single PTZ camera and the 71208-DI offering dual PTZ cameras. The cameras have preset positions, single-cable connection, 5x or 20x optical zoom, and studio-quality mics. Convenient, intuitive control of the cameras and live streaming is done with a StreamDeck Mini controller. Audio, video and integration is pre-programmed and tested. Either system can be equipped with an optional factory-programed DSP for sophisticated acoustics processing and echo cancellation. The PTZ cameras are connected via HDBaseT so video, control signals and power travel through a single cable for a clean, no-mess setup. This Drop-In is compatible with any web-based videoconferencing software, including Zoom, Facebook Live, Teams, Skype, BlueJeans and WebEx, as well as Youtube.

Building on the success of the RoboSHOT 30E NDI Camera, Vaddio recently launched its RoboSHOT 12E PTZ Camera with NewTek NDI, a low latency solution in the NDI ecosystem. The RoboSHOT 12E NDI Camera is a recognizable video source by other NDI-enabled applications and devices connected to a standard local area network. In addition, the camera’s pan/tilt/zoom and other controls can be accessed through NDI, creating a complete network IP workflow for operator control. The unit’s 1/2.5-type Exmor R CMOS sensor delivers 1080p/60 video in low light conditions; horizontal field of view is 70.2°. The camera uses Vaddio’s Tri-Synchronous Motion technology to allow simultaneous three-axis movement for the same smoothness of a live camera operator. Supports simultaneous HDMI and NewTek NDI streaming outputs. Also new from Vaddio, the Vaddio Deployment Tool enables you to select devices from the network, choose an action like rebooting the device, unmute the audio, or updating firmware for remote troubleshooting or mass firmware updates.

In June, VITEC announced its new MGW ChannelLink IP distribution gateway for large, often global operations. In broadcast, corporate, and government, the appliance acts as a central hub where IP channels from the field can be received and reliably retransmitted live over any IP network. It can receive a large number of input streams and translate them into a multicast or unicast MPEG Transport Stream over UDP (UDP TS) or an SRT-protected stream. When used in conjunction with VITEC’s MGW Ace Encoder and Decoder in its ultra-low-latency HEVC profile, the gateway provides optimized end-to-end latency. The solution enables remote production and contribution over the Internet. MGW ChannelLink is also interoperable with third-party encoders and decoders; the compression-standard-agnostic gateway is compatible with MPEG-2, H.264, and HEVC codecs, any resolution and frame rate (SD, HD, 4K, and more), and is engineered to evolve and support future transport protocols. Users can manage all incoming channels from around the world and view information and statistics, such as quality of the network link and packet loss. The gateway also provides users with a centralized location for aggregating content and monitoring incoming streams. VITEC’s MGW ChannelLink is well suited for stream management, routing, rebroadcasting, or IPTV stream reflection over WAN or the Internet, including for secure government and military full-motion video applications. Ideal for integrating with the ChannelLink gateway, VITEC’s popular MGW ACE Encoder uses HEVC/H.265 compression for ultra low latency HEVC streaming down to 16ms glass-to-glass while still supporting H.264 as well. Powered by the VITEC HEVC GEN2+ encoder, the unit enables Time-Synchronized Playback and it features a portable, low-power hardware design running on 28 volts. The system ensures perfect synchronization of multiple independent IP streams. Input formats include 3G-SDI, HD-SDI, SD-SDI, DVI, HDMI and Composite video along with analog and digital sound. A built-in video matrix enables routing of video sources to both the HEVC and H.264 compression cores for simultaneous H.265 and H.264 streaming.

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