M&J Communications 25th Anniversary — Supplier Showcase: Adtec Digital Interview

We’d like to continue with the series of articles to mark 25 years of success for M&J Communications. Today, we’re showcasing Adtec Digital, one of our long-standing suppliers. We talked with Jon Waltz, Adtec’s representative, and discussed the relationship between our companies and his views on the industry and the future trends.

About Adtec Digital

First, we talked about the company in general. We wanted to see “inside perspective” as it were.

Adtec is a manufacturer of broadcast communications equipment. They’ve been in business for 36 years and have offices in Nashville, Tennessee and Jacksonville, Florida.

The equipment made by Adtec is being used daily on every single one of the seven continents. Jon attributes this widespread use and success to the company’s partnerships with distribution companies like M&J Communications. After all, who better to join forces with than a company that’s been specialising in broadcast products and technology for decades.

Adtec’s partners are their eyes and ears on the ground, and their input is taken quite seriously. They have the most pertinent information as to what’s needed now and in the future for their key markets. They bring equipment, service, loaners, demos, and sales specifically to technology companies in the private, public, and government sectors. Adtec Digital’s hardware-based compression technologies facilitate off-air, satellite and broadband video communications in almost every environment.

 

 

Technical trends within professional broadcast video contribution and distribution

According to Jon, revenue will continue to be a big driver of technology. More and more projects are moving to IP distribution using newer compression standards that work to minimise bandwidth requirements (like HEVC) in a safe and reliable way. This will significantly lower costs by allowing broader access to high-quality video.

Adding advanced encryption methods like BISS-CA, HEVC Codecs and multi-channel encode/decode capabilities to leverage existing ASI infrastructures such as satellite modulators and demodulators.

Some technology trends have been driven by business requirements and environmental and societal factors like the COVID-19 pandemic.

One such trend is the increased need for remote workflows. Providing compact hardware systems that are user friendly and can be placed into home offices or studios will be a necessity for most equipment manufacturers. This includes building gateway products as satellite and IP services merge, bridging the gap between coaxial and twisted pair infrastructure.

Remote connectivity is also growing in popularity. This means an increased need for a hybrid encode/decode chassis that can send and receive high-quality transmissions in a single multi-channel frame.

Adtec Digital’s response

Adtec Digital already has plans to meet the upcoming challenges. The company intends to provide the latest hardware-based multi-codec encoders and decoders for transmitting live entertainment or news events and use hardware-based processing that’s reliable, low-latency and portable or rack-mountable.

Adtec’s products will be able to encode, receive and multiplex content to and from the studio, on location, in CDN’s and broadcast centres.

When it comes to workflow changes caused by lockdowns or restricted group sizes, this has become an ideal situation for remote anchors or commentators. They’re able to engage in production, live broadcasts, or interviews between their homes and the studios, thanks to fast, secure and reliable hardware. They can use cost-effective microwave transmissions and unmanaged, public broadband services.

New contribution and distribution solutions

The Adtec Digital’s team has built Acquisition Solutions for Sports and Live Events or News. In addition, they have designed Infrastructure Solutions that are interoperable with existing components using ASI transport container standards. The company can leverage that existing gear and plants wired with coaxial cables and use their afiniti platform to provide secure encryption, ASI and IP Turn-around, full hardware encode and decode solutions and service filtering gateways. It reliably bridges between the IP and RF worlds.

Even lower cost encoder/decoder/multiplexer products are being developed that can use some of the same technology found in Adtec’s afiniti AFN-1000 contribution-based product. The afiniti AFN-250 is a smaller footprint product measuring less than 1/3 of the size of a full rack-mountable AFN-1000 unit. New features coming to the AFN-250 will include improved audio capabilities and advancements in encoding and decoding capabilities. All of these capabilities can live inside the same frame. This will save customers’ time, space, and money while being seamless.

MetaData or VANC Data Insertion like OP47, CC, Insertion Markers, Scoreboard Data can be inserted on location, and it’s portable and expandable. Fewer hands have to touch it in between the origination and final viewer destination.

What makes Adtec Digital stand out

Jon emphasized that Adtec is the only completely hardware-based end-to-end encode/decode/multiplexer solution for the contribution and distribution space that continues to offer ASI and IP options for input and output along with advanced audio processing, encryption, and SRT technology in a modular architecture. 

That gives the customers the option of configuring a product as a multi-channel encoder, a multi-channel decoder, or as some combination of multi-channel encoders and decoders in the same chassis with a built-in multiplexer. Customers will enjoy more flexibility, and Adtec will be able to service a product more easily. Adtec Digital’s team can replace a faulty encode or decode module without having to replace an entire unit. The service provided is excellent and may be the best in the industry.

Adtec Digital’s relationship with M&J Communications

The two companies have worked together for over ten years now. M&J focuses on selling, servicing, and integrating all Adtec’s contribution-class products.

M&J Communications is a unique partner to Adtec Digital because the people at M&J understand the value of providing great service and solving problems. In Jon’s own words: “M&J is one of the few companies that I know of with the ability to truly do detailed system integration and support for their clients. That is what we need in order to win new business.”

M&J Communications has a degree of influence over Adtec Digital’s product roadmap. For example, the M&J’s team has pushed Adtec to develop BISS-CA encrypt and decrypt solutions as well as higher-end functionality that has been implemented into the products. Our experts have worked with Adtec to come up with some very unique solutions for a wide range of customers.

The future of professional broadcast video contribution and distribution

Jon thinks that evolving bandwidth constraints and limitations will continue to push the industry to use more efficient video codecs. The use of HEVC technology will increase, and the newer codecs like AV1, VCC, EVC, and others will likely see some interest from traditional broadcasters and internet broadcasters. Also, people will want to send more video streams out from a wider range of events.

Parting words

We’re very grateful to Jon Waltz for providing us with information for this piece and Adtec Digital for ten years of cooperation. Their products provide value to our customers, and we’re happy to work with them on improving their offer and tailoring it to customer needs. We’re hoping for many more years of successful partnership.