In Broadcast - December 2016 - 73
Fully Redundant Automatic Remote Playout
EdgeBox makes delivering a TV station, complete with local branding and
content, to anywhere 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 sense.
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.
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
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 material.
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.
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 redundant PSUs.
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 server hard drives, allowing
plenty of time for fault correction.
Local Content and QC
Provision can be made to ingest local commercials and some content at
the remote site. This can be forwarded to the broadcast centre for editing
and quality control and the result delivered back to the remote site.
This is mandatory in many countries and provides important evidence in
programme or advertising disputes. It is also a good aid for fault finding
with remote playout systems. CaptureBox Compliance can record 30, 60,
90 or more days with time stamp at low bit rate. These files are recorded
in one hour blocks that are easily retrievable over the internet for viewing.
For more information please see www.playboxtechnology.com