​Crystal Vision Introduces M-WEBKEY For Broadcast Graphics

Crystal Vision says its M-WEBKEY software app is a lower cost alternative to traditional linear keying.

Rather than using video sources for the key and fill signals like traditional linear keyers, Crystal Vision's M-WEBKEY web page keyer can key a web page on to an IP or SDI video stream – using HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, AJAX, XML and JSON to add still and animated on-screen text and graphics as well as data-driven graphics.

“The M-WEBKEY is already causing broadcasters to rethink their graphics workflows,” the firm claims. “Compared to traditional linear keying, this new method of keying is lower cost (no need for an expensive character generator or graphics PC), provides an easier workflow (with less video sources to deal with), simplifies the network (web pages use very little bandwidth compared to uncompressed video), makes efficient use of resources (the broadcaster's website and programmes can share the same graphics) and makes it easier to find suitable operators (with web page design a common skill).

The software app runs on the MARBLE-V1 media processor hardware, a card housed in the Vision frame which features a CPU/GPU processor and both SDI and 10GbE IP network interface connections.

The M-WEBKEY allows the video input or a matte color to be set as the background source, with the specified web page providing the overlaid foreground source as well as the key signal which defines the graphic's location and transparency.

It will render the web page at the correct resolution and frame rate for the video signal and then key the graphic on to the video. It supports all web standards including HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, AJAX, XML and JSON. Web pages can be accessed remotely – with two DNS servers available via the 10GbE network interface ports – or can be stored internally in the Vision 3 frame, with expandable storage available.

“Web page keying has many advantages,” says Crystal Vision's Managing Director, Philip Scofield. “Firstly, it is lower cost than traditional linear keying. Because the graphic and key signal are from a web page, there is no need for the expensive character generator or graphics PC that would be required if they were video sources. Any number of M-WEBKEY can derive their graphics from the same web server – ideal for multi-channel playout systems. The cost of routing IP is related to the total bandwidth and so web pages save money by using less bandwidth than uncompressed video signals – which has the additional benefit of making the network less complex.

“Web page keying also makes for a simpler workflow. With the graphic and key signal combined as one source, the broadcast engineer just has one web page to distribute rather than two SDI or IP signals – a benefit which becomes even more advantageous with multi-channel applications. Web page keying also introduces increased efficiency, allowing broadcasters to use the same resources for their broadcast graphics as they do for their website if required. Finally, it is easier to find suitable operators. Web page design is a less specialist skill than operating broadcast graphics, with the easy construction of web pages using free or inexpensive standard web design software.”

The M-WEBKEY can be used with IP (SMPTE ST 2022 and ST 2110 video), with SDI or with both IP and SDI at the same time. Its support for multiple signal formats gives the easiest possible SDI to IP upgrade, while also making it perfect for mixed SDI and IP installations as well as fully IP or fully SDI environments. The product’s gateway functionality can be used to integrate SDI into an IP environment or IP into an SDI environment.

Explained Scofield: “The M-WEBKEY helps our customers to move more of the production process to general purpose web-based systems and still keep full broadcast quality for both IP and SDI based architecture. It's ideal for anyone trying to reduce the cost of creating video graphics – from the small broadcaster with one channel to the large broadcaster with lots of specialist channels.”

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