Years ago the idea of channel-in-a-box was considered a somewhat oddball way to establish a small cheap playout system. That was in 2000 and PlayBox Technology was just starting out. Twelve years on and with 11,000 TV and branding channels now powered by PlayBox Technology, almost everything has changed, except the continuing drive to cut costs and going file-based is now seen as the way forward. Even the well-established, highly respected companies that won their wings and acquired their reputations with baseband playout are now joining the file-based channel-in-a-box market. Welcome aboard!
With so much broadcasting now relying on file-based playout, reliability is essential. In this area money does not necessarily buy a better system. The product is essentially a COTS Box (commercial off-the-shelf) server hardware and specialist software. At least, that is where PlayBox is with its technology. The AirBox playout server, its first product, has been continually developed and refined over 12 years and is rock-solid reliable and, if you want, you can also pack into the same box all the extra modules you want, meaning that only very few boxes are needed. And it’s still rock-solid reliable for HD, SD, DVB and IP. You can even re-jig the on-air playlist, still no problem. The industry is very well aware of the need for reliability in broadcasting and how it is achieved – always starting with a good model and then through years of intelligent refinement. There are no shortcuts.
The range of modules continues to expand. AirBox playout and automation, TitleBox on-air dynamic 3D graphics and CaptureBox ingest provide fundamental applications. A wide range of additional modules allows customers the freedom to choose additional functions that fit their specific requirements. A recent addition, QCBox, has attracted much attention as it provides quality control and automatic loudness and level control on playback.
PlayBox Technology would still be stuck on the starting blocks if it had not addressed head-on the widely recognised tricky problem of file formats. There are too many! The company firmly believes this should never be a problem for the customer and so has always worked with what was already out there, so it could plug straight into the existing archives and all other material from day one. This is one reason why its installations are completed so fast. As a result it has never been foxed by files and continues to add new ones to its file-conversion engine (software, of course) as they arise, with the latest being AVC Intra and Apple Pro res.
Looking forward to BVE, PlayBox is showing its latest multichannel-in-a-box products including multi-channel AirBox, multi-channel CaptureBox and dual-channel TitleBox. AirBox Multi-Parallel Output enables the running two or more parallel outputs providing any combination of formats. As important are the services including worldwide 24/7 monitoring and support for unattended remote systems as well as the Broadcast Systems Group for project design and management.
With some broadcasters running over 50 channels, and one, Noorsat operating in Bahrain currently running 105 servers, PlayBox Technology has clearly made the transition from oddball to mainstream! Today it is the world’s biggest supplier in the growing market of channel-in-a-box file-based playout. And offering prices at around 25-percent of conventional playout it is continuing rapid growth around the world.
UK Sales Director, Ben Gunkel comments, “We had a fantastic BVE last year and we’ve got more to offer our customers in 2012. Many years back we reached the goal of providing a rock-solid playout platform that allowed us to build out, adding more features to provide full solutions to meet our customers’ needs for the complete workflow cycle. Now, with powerful Intel Core technology, we are liberated to do much more inside the box, and so offer much more to our customers.”