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PlayBox Neo

PlayBox Neo (www.playboxneo.com), building on nearly 20 years of successful innovation, pioneered the development of high-efficiency server-based and cloud-based playout to support every scale and type of one-to-many communication. PlayBox Neo AirBox and cloud solutions today power over 18,000 TV and branding channels in more than 120 countries. Users include national and international broadcasters, start-up TV channels, webcasters, interactive TV and music channels, film channels, remote TV channels, corporate information channels and disaster recovery channels.

PlayBox Neo announces Cloud2TV software-centric broadcast production and channel playout

PlayBox Neo, a globally active leader in the development and manufacture of broadcast playout and channel branding solutions, announces a major addition to its product range. Based on the concept of virtual channel playout, Cloud2TV is IP-based and totally software-centric.

“Cloud2TV represents the future of video production and content delivery, providing TV operators with ultimate simplicity, efficiency and agility,” says PlayBox Neo CEO Pavlin Rahnev. “Available on a budget-friendly SaaS subscription, it offers numerous advantages such as fast and on-demand channel launch, endless scalability, 24/7 reliability, web-based access and IP workflow. Cloud2TV is fully compatible with existing PlayBox Neo solutions and can be used to extend their capabilities and functionality.”

At the core of Cloud2TV is a playout/IP streaming service supporting UHD, HD and SD. Cloud2TV can be operated in fully automated mode. It also gives operators the freedom to make schedule alterations or insert live content between pre-scheduled content.

Cloud2TV incorporates an intuitive web-based control interface with administrator-adjustable rights assignment, TV channel management, action-logging and notifications. Cloud2TV applications are the main components. Each application functions individually but in close co-ordination with the others to provide a full set of broadcast services supporting the workflow of an entire TV channel. Specific Cloud2TV applications are assigned to content ingest, graphic editing, media browsing with metadata handling and clip trimming, quality control and verification, transcoding, playlist management and audit logging.

PlayBox Neo powers new sports channel at UseeTV Jakarta

UseeTV, an interactive television network owned and operated by PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia, has chosen a complete broadcast playout system from PlayBox Neo to power a new sports channel. The project included supplying, installing and commissioning four AirBox Neo Pro playout servers in 2+2 main and hot-standby configuration with TitleBox Neo, ListBox Neo, Multibackup Manager and SafeBox Neo options.

“We identified PlayBox Neo’s AirBox as the ideal playout platform for this new channel which will be timeshared between Usee Sport, World Cup and Idku programme streams,” comments UseeTV’s engineering manager, Puthut Setyo. “AirBox Neo is space-efficient, easy to interface with third-party equipment, very intuitive to operate and flexible in terms of system scalability. The PlayBox Neo team also did a great job in providing training with separate presentations tailored for our operational staff and the engineering team. Technical support is excellent, both from the PlayBox Neo office here in Jakarta and from the company’s corporate headquarters in Sofia.”

“All four AirBox Neo servers incorporate the Pro option which allows control of third party devices such as video routers,” adds PlayBox Neo Indonesia engineer Dandy Kurniawan. “This option has been deployed to automate the switching between the main and backup playout servers. AirBox Neo Pro also provides automation control of the TitleBox Graphics engine installed on all AirBox Neo servers. All AirBox Neo playout servers also have multichannel audio.”

“Although we are seeing growing demand for our CloudAir virtual playout solution, many broadcasters still prefer the independence which comes with operating their own on-site playout system,” adds PlayBox Neo CEO Pavlin Rahnev. “We are very pleased that AirBox Neo servers have been chosen for this expansion of the UseeTV bouquet which is a rich and varied source of high grade content for UseeTV subscribers.”

StarTimes invests in 12 channel IP streaming platform with PlayBox Neo

PlayBox Technology announced the completion of a new television playout system at the Beijing headquarters of StarTimes, one of China’s leading digital broadcast service providers. The system comprises 12 fully redundant AirBox Neo IP streaming channels in a 6 + 6 dual channel configurations to provide full 1:1 backup protection.

“StarTimes has partnered with us very successfully for many years in providing playout systems to its customers,” comments PlayBox Technology Asia Pacific engineer K. K. Lee.  “The StarTimes engineering and operational teams know from direct experience that AirBox Neo is extremely reliable, highly operator friendly and very space efficient. This system will be used to provide broadcasting services directly from StarTimes’ own broadcast control facility.”

“The whole idea is to replace the old playout servers StarTimes was using. Core equipment in this new installation consists of 12 AirBox Neo streaming servers plus SafeBox Neo software which replicates the content and playlists to local playout server folders prior to transmission. Each server outputs to a DVB encoder and thence to the main transmission feeds. We have also integrated PlayBox Technology ListBox Neo playlist preparation, TitleBox Neo CG and graphics playout and our QCBox Neo quality control modules.”

“QCBox Neo analyses the relevant media files in a playlist, folder or selected files. Basic tests include checking for correct duration of streams, continuity, frozen and black frames as well as audio tests, including loudness, phase and audio levels measurements. Test results are stored in a metadata file that accompanies the media file prior to programme playout on AirBox Neo. The metadata file is checked and the AirBox Neo playout can be configured to skip the file, show a warning before playing the file, or play the file depending on the data parameters. In addition, the loudness measurement data from QCBox Neo can be used for automatic adjustment of the audio playback levels.”

“We have also supplied two PlayBox Neo DVB subtitling servers which can be used for multi-language DVB subtitling integrated with AirBox Neo output streams. This is a relatively standard configuration and one that has worked very well across many highly successful playout system installations. Connected third-party equipment includes a media asset manager and transmission multiplexers.”

Designed for 24/7 unattended operation, PlayBox Technology AirBox Neo can also be operated manually, including the ability to handle live-to-air throughput. UHD, HD and SD are all supported in single server. Features include a streaming input supporting HTTP, HTTP Secure, UDP, RTMP, MMS, MMSH and YouTube. RTMP streaming output allows easy web streaming.

ZNBC chooses PlayBox Technology for its Lusaka HQ

Zambia’s state-owned television and radio network, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, has chosen PlayBox Technology Neo as the core of a new playout facility controlled from its headquarters in Lusaka. The newly completed system was installed by Beijing-based StarTimes in partnership with PlayBox Technology Asia Pacific.

“ZNBC initially upgraded to Neo at its studios in Zambia’s second largest city, Kitwe,” comments PlayBox Technology Asia Pacific general manager Desmon Goh. “Then it expanded its Lusaka headquarters. That transition from legacy analogue equipment was greatly appreciated both by the network’s technical and operational staff. StarTimes was then commissioned to replace the analogue system at the network’s central studios with PlayBox Technology Neo.”

“The new installation includes 12 3U AirBox Neo servers combined with TitleBox Neo CG interactive graphics, a Multi Playout Manager monitoring, control and viewing system, six ListBox Neo Playlist Preparation stations and six TitleBox Neo Preparation stations for template creation. These are configured as six main and six backup playout channels, integrated with ZNBC’s existing production studio infrastructure. The entire workflow is in 1080i high definition with output down-conversion for the parallel 576i standard definition transmission feed.”

“A key requirement was the ability to allow region-specific insertion of interstitials such as commercials into the regional stations as well as the integration with the existing media asset management system by Chengdu Sobey Digital Technology. The channel schedules are prepared using ListBox Neo preparation workstations linked to the relevant AirBox Neo servers via a 10GbE local area network. Each AirBox Neo can source content from the same LAN, from an incoming satellite feed or from locally generated SDI feeds. The project also included provision of a 96 terabyte server for storing programmes and interstitials.”

“In addition to the servers and software modules, six full weeks of training were provided at StarTimes office in Beijing plus three days of refreshment training at ZNBC in Lusaka. The new system is now in successful operation.”

AirBox Neo enables ZNBC to source and process video and audio content from practically every known production platform or video server. Playlists can be scheduled weeks in advance to allow fully automated playout. Gaps or time overlaps are automatically resolved to ensure continuous operation even when conflicting timed events are present. Special facilities ensure uninterrupted operation if content files or even entire schedules are missing or misplaced. Changes to the playlist can be made at any time, even during an on-air session.

PlayBox Technology powers new broadcast channel in Ghana

PlayBox Technology announces the completion of a major project for Citi TV by systems integration partner TV & Communication Systems (TVC) in cooperation with Vision in Motion. The project encompasses the design and integration of two live production studios, programme storage and media asset management, fully tested and commissioned at the broadcaster’s headquarters in Accra. The core of the installation is a fully automated broadcast playout system centred on AirBox Neo.

“Key parameters for Citi TV were the need for reliability, operational efficiency and future-proof expandability,” says TVC’s television and communications systems manager Andrej Brickij. “PlayBox Technology’s Neo product family delivers on all three counts. Neo allows the channel’s staff to preschedule all content and interstitials for fully automated playout while retaining the freedom to switch into live broadcasting mode whenever they choose. Neo is also highly space-efficient and therefore easy to accommodate in often crowded apparatus rooms.”

“The system we have produced for Citi TV includes a PlayBox Technology DataBox Neo server with a 32 terabyte network-attached storage archive including RAID5 protection. This provides instant access to more than 20 000 records simultaneously. It is being used to hold media files ranging from stills and production clips to complete programmes. Each file can be classified by characteristics such as type, category, keyword, credit and format. This allows tasks such as logo overlay, content storage and retrieval and playlist construction to be simplified or completely automated. Archived content can be easily accessed using multi-profile search as well as by multi-criteria filtering.”

“Ingest to the archive is via a CaptureBox Neo which allows content to be captured from up to four video sources simultaneously. Incoming content is available for playback within seconds of ingest commencing. All four video sources can be monitored as a multi-view with audio levels displayed as loudness or true-peak bars. Capture lists can be imported from third-party traffic systems.”

“PlayBox continues to be an aspirational brand in Africa and indeed worldwide,” adds PlayBox Technology CEO Pavlin Rahnev. “African broadcasters are investing in high definition services with increasing confidence, reflecting very strong sales of HD displays for home television viewing as well as the popularity of latest generation mobile devices with HD-plus resolution. The AirBox Neo platform also gives channel managers the option to introduce terrestrial, satellite-based or online UHD services when they consider the market is ready.”

The playout engine at Citi TV is an AirBox Neo populated with a ListBox Neo playlist schedule editor which allows programme editors to create and edit schedules days or weeks in advance of transmission. Facilities include text searching, clip copy and paste, and schedule printing. An integral clip trimmer enables simple programme editing within ListBox Neo. No special hardware is required so scheduling can even be done on a notebook computer.

Also incorporated is TitleBox Neo which provides total control during on-air sessions, including text selection, running speed and transitions. The TitleBox feature set includes horizontal crawling text, vertically rolling credits and messages, still and animated logo graphics, analogue and digital clocks, banner slideshows and chat text with automated horizontal or vertical scrolling. Among the additional creative facilities are pre-constructed graphic components, video resizing (from a live source or file), window-style display and website content ingest.

AirBox Neo gives Citi TV the ability to handle video/audio formats from practically every known production platform or video server. Playlists can be scheduled week in advance to allow fully automated playout. Gaps or time overlaps are automatically resolved to ensure continuous operation even when conflicting timed events are present. Special facilities ensure uninterrupted operation if content files or even entire schedules are missing or misplaced. Changes to the playlist can be made at any time, even during an on-air session.

Workpoint TV expands live OB coverage with ProductionAirBox Neo

Workpoint TV, one of Thailand’s leading digital television broadcasters, has enhanced its playout capabilities with the addition of latest-generation AirBox Neo and ProductionAirBox Neo from PlayBox Technology. Workpoint TV produces a wide range of content including news, music and variety programmes for transmission via the Thai digital television network, on satellite and online.

“Workpoint TV selected AirBox as the heart of its playout facility right from the start of test transmissions in 2011,” says Apichart Prugtayanon, Project Manager at PlayBox Technology Thailand. “The new AirBox Neo and ProductionAirbox Neo are being used to handle outside broadcast coverage of concert stage events and sport, including live inserts which can be added easily between pre-scheduled events. The entire process from ingest to transmission is in high-definition.”

“PlayBox Technology has proved a highly efficient and effective partner at every stage in our business development,” comments Workpoint TV’s Broadcast Engineering Manager Nopporn Muenkrathong. “ProductionAirBox Neo adds exactly the facilities we need to provide dynamic coverage of content coming in from our auxiliary studio and of events covered by our mobile production team.”

“Operational flexibility has always been a key element of our design strategy,” adds Don Ash, President of PlayBox Technology. “We are very pleased to see Workpoint TV using the extra muscle which ProductionAirBox Neo provides for fast content processing. High quality coverage of live events such as sport and late-breaking news are becoming increasingly important elements of broadcasting, giving channels such as Workpoint a definite advantage in their quest for high viewing figures.”

ProductionAirBox Neo is a content playout system designed for use in a fast-paced studio environment. It has the low latency essential for broadcast news, sports and live production. A wide range of file formats and resolutions can be imported into the playlist, with up to 16 digital audio channels to accommodate multi-language programmes. The feature set also includes forward or reverse shuttle at up to 32x speed, mixing of different video resolutions and formats in a single playlist, logical content trimming plus support for a wide variety of compression standards and media containers. The NewTek Network Device Interface open protocol for IP production workflow is supported.

PlayBox Neo and CloudAir wow broadcasters at NAB

PlayBox Technology Limited (PTL) reports an extremely successful 2016 NAB Show with high levels of visitor interest in PlayBox Neo and CloudAir which both made their American market debut.

“With two major product launches at this year’s Las Vegas NAB, we had every reason to anticipate strong visitor traffic,” said PTL marketing manager Peter Petrov. “The actual number of visitors to our exhibit far exceeded expectations on all four days of the show.’
“The two big themes at NAB this year were increasing recognition of IP in broadcast workflows and the need to prepare for UHD playout,” added PTL president Don Ash. “We pioneered the concept of IP-based playout over a decade ago, allowing television channel managers to control remote AirBox servers from any location via a secure network connection. We have now announced support for the NewTek Network Device Interface (NDI) open protocol for IP production workflow.”

“We have also introduced full support for UHD, HD and SD in a single AirBox Neo server,” said PTL USA sales sanager Van Duke. “AirBox Neo is the ideal playout platform both for new startup UHD channels and for existing SD or HD channels keen to expand into UHD. Easy to install and operate, versatile and highly reliable, AirBox Neo retains all the plus-points that have made AirBox the world’s best selling broadcast playout system.”

“The CloudAir universal playout and streaming platform made its first NAB showing following its official launch at IBC 2015,” detailed PTL CEO Pavlin Rahnev. “CloudAir rewrites the broadcast playout rulebook in terms of speed, scalability and flexible funding. It allows service-providers to introduce secure cloud-based playout facilities to broadcasters on any required scale. CloudAir can be hosted on existing IT servers or supplied to the host company as a complete hardware system. The host company subscribes to as many licences as it needs at the start of the enterprise, adding more licences to accommodate expanding levels of business.

“Television channels of any kind can be deployed via CloudAir, ranging from permanent services operating round the clock every day of the year to transient ‘red-button’ channels created in parallel with a specific series or event. It also allows a disaster recovery system to be established at very short notice, whether for the single channel or an entire network. This can be controlled securely from practically any location with IP connectivity.

“One of the world’s largest telco service providers confirmed during NAB that it will be using CloudAir to bring news, sports and entertainment content from a major Asian broadcaster to viewers in Canada.”

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