At the 2012 NAB Show next month, Snell will announce exciting enhancements to its ICE channel-in-a-box and Morpheus automation systems that further extend their functionality. Each solution boasts an even wider range of tools that enable broadcasters to streamline their workflows, greatly reduce their total cost of ownership, and monetise their content over multiple platforms.
ICE is a best-of-breed IT playout system that combines what once were multiple racks of hardware into just a small number of rack units. Unlike other offerings, ICE incorporates more of the “channel” into the “box,” maximising the commercial and operational benefits. Driven by Morpheus, ICE also is the only channel-in-a-box system that can truly scale from a single channel to more than 100 of the most complex broadcast channels while maintaining the same user interface.
Snell’s focus on incorporating more of the channel into the box has brought ICE 3.0 powerful, integrated 3D graphics, CG functionality with timeline control, and the ability to populate fields from the playout schedule, as well as external data sources.
File compatibility and integrity can be a major challenge when handling content from multiple suppliers and multiple workflows, since problem files can create a serious risk to on-air output. To combat this, Snell has incorporated a new content validation feature in ICE 3.0 that analyses source material as soon as it is available to prevent invalid formats or impaired content from reaching the on-air output. The final addition to ICE 3.0 is optional SAN storage which brings high-performance shared storage to the platform.
Refinements to Morpheus automation include new second-screen capabilities, such as enhanced e-commerce functionality with comprehensive user transaction and purchase models, and other tools that empower broadcasters to monetise their assets via second-screen applications. Version 3.0 boasts full virtual machine support that facilitates lower space and power requirements while improving system resilience. Snell has also enhanced the Morpheus user interface to simplify the operation of multiple channels and complex operations.
“Broadcasters are under increasing pressure to deliver more content than ever before and in multiple formats. ICE and Morpheus are proven, scalable, flexible, and reliable automated playout solutions that meet these needs,” said Karl Mehring, senior product manager at Snell. “They enable broadcasters to dramatically change the economics of delivering television content.”