In Broadcast - October 2013 - S3
EdgeBox by PlayBox Technology
Fully Redundant Automatic Remote Playout Anywhere in the World via Internet
EdgeBox makes delivering a TV station, complete with local branding and content, to anywher e in the world an economic reality –
even for small audiences. EdgeBox enables the whole operation to be run from an established broadcast centre, at a cost that makes
PlayBox Technology’s ability to offer complete, reliable broadcast workflows at IT prices is an essential part of EdgeBox. EdgeBox
provides a tapeless file-based operation that has two parts: one integrated with the broadcast centre and the other at the remote site.
At the broadcast centre it is fully integrated into the current or preferred systems including traffic, storage, MAM, ingest, transcoding
and file transfer systems, or PlayBox Technology can provide these. This connects to the new remote EdgeBox site’s playout
equipment via the public internet – making a huge cost saving over the traditional dedicated fibre or satellite links.
The workflow is highly automated and is designed to provide easy, familiar playout operation. Proceedings start with daily playlists
created in the broadcast centre’s traffic system, which is integrated with MAM, being sent to the remote EdgeBox. There it checks for
the required media and generates a list of missing items that’s sent back to the MAM that then generates requests for the media and
subtitle files required for playout. Aspects such as ingest requests, the correct TV format, SD or HD, transcoding, etc, are automatically
handled and the required material is sent to the remote. Remote playout then proceeds in the normal way, running from the playlist.
Also reports, including ‘as run logs’, are returned to the broadcast centre and finally the EdgeBox playout servers are purged of old
EdgeBox enables all the features of normal local operation such as the inclusion of subtitles. Subtitle files can be produced in the
normal way. Then SubtitleBox, installed on each EdgeBox server, accepts and checks the files and automatically delivers open subtitles
during transmission. PlayBox SubtitlePlus DVB supports DVB subtitles. Multilingual channels are also supported. Operations are
monitored with SNMP sending server status alarms. EdgeBox servers are also connected to VPN for access from anywhere. Local
monitoring can be added if required.
Remote Media Format
The media format used at the remote location can be decided on a number of factors such as the amount of new media per day, the bit
rate chosen for playout and the available internet capacity. MPEG2 IBP at 10Mbps is often chosen, however H.264 at 4Mbps or less is
also chosen as a very good alternative. The chosen bit rate is the customer’s choice.
No two EdgeBoxes are alike. Every broadcaster has its own requirements and PlayBox Technology can design, supply and install each
system according to customers’ needs. Integration with the existing broadcast systems is essential. One focus is format compatibility
where, for the cleanest operation, EdgeBox must be able to work directly with the existing ‘house’ formats – one of the areas where
PlayBox Technology excels.
Customers may consider:
Graphics makes a big impact on the look of the station. EdgeBox provide basic branding with one of a number of logos presented on
the screen at any time. A far wider range of graphics is available when TitleBox is included within the EdgeBox server. This offers
animated logos and multi-layered 2D and 3D graphics, character generation, and interactive graphics for SMS to screen, voting,
gaming, crawls etc. TitleBox can be scheduled from the traffic system while projects and templates are created with TitleBox
Preparation at the broadcast centre.
Enhanced internet performance
A number of steps ensure fast and secure operation over the internet and so each end of the connection includes a file transfer server
and a firewall. The transfer speed can be assisted with a file transfer agent and its reliability enhanced with the use of multiple internet
paths and data checks. For complete privacy the firewall needs to be quite separate from any others used by the broadcaster.
EdgeBox benefits from the inherently reliability of PlayBox Technology products. Depending on needs and budget, two
EdgeBox servers can provide full redundancy with automatic switchover should one fail. In addition the servers have triple
A further measure is to design-in no single point of failure so, for example, even with the loss of internet, FTP server or firewall
playout can continue. Operational planning can add to this with, say, the next seven days of media always stored on the remote