CiaB Solutions at the 2016 NAB Show

Most manufacturers of integrated playout TV master control systems, also known as Channel-in-a-Box (CiaB), suggest CaiB is a smart solution for stations going on the air for the first time and for stations needing to replace a host of aging legacy master control system components.

As legacy automation systems reach end-of-life, broadcasters and multi-channel originators want to take advantage of the flexibility and power of centralized, software-based automation systems. Many are concerned about migrating years of accumulated data from their legacy system database to a new automation system. Most CiaB manufacturers have addressed this critical issue.

At the 2016 NAB Show, the trend towards CiaB was clear. Customer interest and sales were growing for both SDI video and IP video or combinations of both. Some new CiaB solutions use the cloud. The exhibitors below displayed and demonstrated many useful new CiaB solutions.

Athensa announced AirBox 7, TitleBox 7 and CaptureBox 7. Established solutions form the core of this CiaB, and it takes the user experience to another level.Focused on visual enhancements, supported by solid technology performance, ATHENSA offers solutions that allow full user-defined look for any broadcast environment.

The new Athensa UI is adjustable.

The new Athensa UI is adjustable.

“NAKED is the new workspace environment for all ATHENSA solutions”, says Felix Castro, R&D Manager, ATHENSA. “The modern and powerful engine allows us to integrate all ATHENSA solutions into one unified workspace environment.This creates new user experience which allows quick setup, configurable presets and faster work.”

AirBox 7, TitleBox 7 and CaptureBox 7 set the grounds for the unified workspace environment provided by NAKED. All three solutions now feature new flexible and adjustable GUI that increases productivity with simplified processing and control.The quick deployment time and optimized processing power usage, help starting a TV channel in a matter of minutes.

AirBox 7 natively supports 4K UHD video playout at 25 and 30 fps while TitleBox 7 delivers 4K CG and graphics for highly detailed viewer’s experience.

Axel XTV Compact version is 1RU with simultaneous play and capture on local storage.

Axel XTV Compact version is 1RU with simultaneous play and capture on local storage.

Axel Technologies displayed XTV Suite, a professional complete set of software tools for TV stations to manage video capture, trimming, scheduling and playout for completely automatic and unattended efficiency. The tools are designed to achieve a true 'universal format' compatibility and provide a powerful tool to virtually play all media formats from any source or feed.

Axel XTV ties together all sources allowing direct playout of DV, HDV, MPEG-2, DVD, DIVX, MPEG-4, M-JPEG, MPEG-1, H.264, QuickTime, MXF, and other formats in any resolution or framerate with automatic adaption.

ARMADA’s simple UI shows a proxy with VU meters for inputs and outputs.

ARMADA’s simple UI shows a proxy with VU meters for inputs and outputs.

BroadStream Solutions introduced the ARMADA fully automated ‘plug & play’ server with flexible zero second to 10-day time delay and graphics options.

The ARMADA Time Delay Server is intended for fully automated operation with no user intervention and saves on time and eliminates human error. The ARMADA Server and the associated Time Delay application is contained on one device. There is no need for a separate control PC.

The ARMADA Time Delay Server takes live inputs from SD-SDI, HD-SDI or IP and, provides SD-SDI, HD-SDI or IP outputs. With the option “DELAY-OUT” the system can play multiple time delay outputs from the same input and each output can have the same or different delay periods. It is available in 3RU as standard or 1RU.

Cinegy announced the launch of Cinegy Air PRO Version 11, its latest real-time playout server and multi-channel broadcast automation software.

AirPRO Version 11 was demonstrated in the Cinegy exhibit.

AirPRO Version 11 was demonstrated in the Cinegy exhibit.

Version 11’s loudness limiter enables users to ensure that content complies with EBU R128 and CALM loudness regulations. For Australian broadcasters, Version 11 also supports OP42/47 subtitling requirements.

It also sports Cinegy’s next-generation of in-built channel branding, which works in a cloud or virtual environment. This makes it easy to control multiple channels that air the same content but require regionalized commercials and branding.

Existing Cinegy Air users with a valid service level agreement can upgrade to Version 11 at no charge.

Software as a Service

The company also announced “Cinegy as a Service”, a hardware-free way of enabling users to deploy software-defined television on cloud-based virtual machines.

All of Cinegy’s software technology, starting with Cinegy’s real-time playout server and broadcast automation software, Cinegy Air, will steadily migrate to cloud-based services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), enabling prospective users to spin up, test drive, and, if they choose, deploy Cinegy technology in an HD or 4K cloud.

Dayang Technology Development Inc. introduced Dayang iChannel2, a highly integrated, cost-effective, and easy-to-operate automation system for small and mid-size broadcasters. It supports up to 3 HD/SD playout channels in a single compact chassis. The system is based on powerful video server platform, with rich features including ingest, playlist editing, multi-channel playout, CG, live signal pass-through, quality control, loudness control and more.

The newly released functions of iChannel2 system include Transport Stream over UDP for ingest and playout, DTMF encoding and decoding for ad insertion, offline playlist editing, scheduled autoloading of playlist, advanced CG engine iGraphic, and Tablet-based remote monitoring and control.

The Deyan exhibit showcased automated Master Control solutions.

The Deyan exhibit showcased automated Master Control solutions.

Deyan Automation Systems demonstrated playout automation, automated ingest, central casting and web control and monitoring.All Deyan products can work as a fully integrated software pack, as well as standalone applications performing significant functions within the general broadcast process.

Deyan services include consulting and development of custom broadcast automation software and hardware solutions. The On-line Master Control Room package from Deyan Automation Systems is opening the MCR to the Internet and its unlimited set of possibilities.

DVEO showed its Channel Manager ASI 4ch. It is a complete CiaB with supporting four ASI channels, and was on display along with Channel Manager IP/IP 4ch, supporting four individual IP channel streams. Each is a complete system tailored for the North American Broadcast and Cable markets where sub-channels are often transmitted along with a primary channel.

HARDATA displayed several digital tools and CiaB.

HARDATA displayed several digital tools and CiaB.

HARDATA demonstrated the HARDATA SMART FLOW Ecosystem solutions for media asset management, workflow automation and remote control. The company also showed Media Asset Management Web tools for cataloging video clips with customized marks and tags, advanced search function and integration with video editors. It includes automatic proxy transcoding and advanced user control.

All HARDATA systems are based on software modules developed entirely by Hardata, that integrate with enterprise-grade hardware specially adapted by Dell.

HARDATA uses hardware specially adapted by Dell.

HARDATA uses hardware specially adapted by Dell.

The Dell Enterprise computer ensures high stability and long-term global support. HARDATA products are designed to support high availability broadcast requirements. All models feature dual redundant hot-swap power supplies and hot-swap RAID 6 drives. They can withstand up to two simultaneous disk failures without losing functionality.

The powerful HPE Moonshot Server in the Imagine Communications exhibit demonstrated its new business relationship with HP.

The powerful HPE Moonshot Server in the Imagine Communications exhibit demonstrated its new business relationship with HP.

The Imagine Communications exhibit was filled with fresh new ideas and solutions. Specific to CiaB and MC automation, the company expanded its xG AIM Ad Insertion for Multiscreen with the addition of Placement Opportunity Information Service (POIS), Ad Decision Router (ADR) and Ad Decision Service (ADS) functionality.

It also announced the following Imagine Communications solutions are Microsoft Azure Certified, having passed stringent testing and compatibility requirements to operate seamlessly in Azure:

Versio:The 100%-software, cloud-enabled Versio solution is now available in the virtualized Azure environment. It includes graphics, automation and master control. Media companies can now use the combined flexibility of Versio and Azure for a variety of revenue-enhancing and cost-reducing applications.

SelenioFlex Live: SelenioFlex Live provides high-quality live encoding for high-value applications, from cloud DVR to live-event streaming to over-the-top (OTT) delivery of linear channels.

xG Ad Insertion for Multiscreen:xG AIM supports advanced ABR streaming to deliver hyper-targeted ads to smartphones, PCs, tablets, connected TVs and virtually any other device that receives live or on-demand video programming.

Leightronix announced a new product built on the success of the popular UltraNEXUS series of video servers, the UltraNEXUS-HD. It combines high-definition video with the well-known WinLGX scheduling program, offering an accessible and affordable gateway to HD broadcasting. Also available is the UltraNEXUS-HD Blade, a specialized, space-saving system, accommodating 12 High-Definition channels in a 4 RU chassis.

Leightronix LuxeVision provides a suite of digital video, audio, and control technologies combined to create a full-featured and high-quality interactive television experience. Expanding on standard Internet protocol based systems known as Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), LuxeVision integrates encoding, transcoding, delivery, and decoding functions in an end-to-end solution.­­­­­­

Pebble Beach Systems announced the worldwide launch of Orca, its new software-defined virtualized IP channel solution.

Pebble Beach Systems' Orca is a virtualized CiaB that makes it easy to deploy IP-based channels almost instantly without significant additional hardware or weeks or months of setup and provisioning.

Pebble Beach Systems' Orca is a virtualized CiaB that makes it easy to deploy IP-based channels almost instantly without significant additional hardware or weeks or months of setup and provisioning.

Ideally suited for central cast hubs, service providers, MCOs (Multiple Channel Operators) and sports broadcasters, Orca makes it easy to deploy or contract IP-based channels almost instantly without investment in significant new hardware or weeks or months of setup and provisioning.

Orca channels run in a virtual machine (VM) in a private cloud with IP inputs and outputs. The virtual CiaB delivers all the functionalities that could previously only be handled by discrete hardware video servers, graphics and captioning systems, within a pure software environment.

"While systems offering integrated software components running on off-the-shelf IT hardware have been gaining in popularity, pushing the infrastructure to the cloud is truly the next step, as broadcast businesses seek to evolve IP-based services alongside more traditional channel delivery methods,” said Ian Cockett, Technical Director of Pebble Beach Systems.

Orca offers a software-only virtual implementation of the company’s Dolphin platform. Because both Dolphin and Orca share the same underlying architecture and control, it is easy to mirror channel templates for simultaneous playout to traditional SDI and IP video channels.

A real game changer is Orca’s ability to create new IP channels from a series of templates at the touch of a button. Channels can be launched and integrated into a running Marina automation system literally at the click of a button. The solution can also deploy grid-based GPU power for encoding and graphics, freeing up CPU power to enable Orca to increase channel counts more cost-effectively for the end user.

Pixel Power provided a live demonstration of fully virtualized playout in the cloud, along with highly productive graphics solutions and proven technology that bridges the transition from SDI to the IP connected future.

New solutions were on display in the Pixel Power exhibit.

New solutions were on display in the Pixel Power exhibit.

The 2016 NAB Show was the site of the US debut of StreamMaster, the next generation of integrated channel playout, scalable to meet the needs of anything from a pop-up channel to a full premium service. StreamMaster is part of Pixel Power’s new software-centric product portfolio; it can run on dedicated hardware, as a virtual machine in a data center, or in the cloud.

Other Pixel Power NAB debuts included Promote, with automated finishing tool Pixel Factory. Promote creates data-driven live on air graphics, Pixel Factory produces all the different versions of promotional content from a single set of instructions.

PlayBox showed CloudAir and several upgrades to the established PlayBox platform.

PlayBox showed CloudAir and several upgrades to the established PlayBox platform.

PlayBox Technology Limited showed its CloudAir platform. It enables new television channels to be set-up and established in a matter of seconds, without the usual preliminary investment in playout infrastructure. CloudAir is designed for those wanting to broadcast TV content on a real-time 24/7 basis, or for a short-running series such as a sports event. It can also be deployed as the basis of a highly secure disaster recovery system.

Software as a Service

CloudAir is about speed, unlimited scalability and affordability. It has the potential to empower new or existing program streams wherever and whenever they are needed, in any video standard from SD to UHD. Available on a software-as-a-service basis, it offers established broadcasters or new-start entrepreneurs unsurpassed freedom in the style and scale of their operation and in the way they fund their business. CloudAir can provide true playout with graphics on any enterprise-class blade, rack or tower server. CloudAir needs no auxiliary hardware.

PlayBox also showed the latest upgrades to the established PlayBox platform: AirBox Neo, TitleBox Neo, CaptureBox Neo and SafeBox Neo. These can be combined on a modular basis to match any size of operation ranging from a compact national or regional channel-in-a-box station to a large-scale multi-channel broadcast network transmitting to a global audience.

RUSHWORKS highlighted in the company's booth was the successful integration of BXF (Broadcast Exchange Format) file parsing into its A-LIST BROADCAST Automation and Streaming Systems. Also shown were three new products. The trio includes: REMO UBEREMOTE and REMO ISOTOWER production and streaming configurations, and TALK-TAKE video switching software.

At NAB 2016, SAM highlighted its business-transforming solutions across live playout by showing support for 4K Channel-in-a-box (CiaB) ICE, systems for broadcasters and media organizations.

Earlier this year, SAM inked a deal with Rogers Media to provide it with a range of leading technology for its new, market-defining 4K service. The announced programming package to be delivered includes over 100 live sports events, featuring every Toronto Blue Jays baseball home game and more than 20 NHL games. SAM provided a Kahuna 9600 switcher – featuring a 16 input A/B cut buss — for the MCR alongside Morpheus automation and ICE Channel-in-a-Box units. Rogers Media has also installed main and backup 4K sQ servers in addition to a range of SAM infrastructure products. This project marks the most comprehensive rollout of SAM 4K technology to date.

Tightrope Media Systems unveiled a new software upgrade for its Cablecast broadcast automation platform. Building on the momentum of the recent Cablecast 6.0 release, version 6.1 adds features that address evolving audience viewing habits across smartphones and tablets, along with open APIs that maximize front-end presentation flexibility for Community TV station web developers.

The site now allows viewers to switch between channels, providing faster access to targeted live and VOD content. Behind the scenes, the Cablecast Reflect cloud-based service continues to offer customers the ability to deliver Cablecast's adaptive bit rate, H.264 streams to a virtually unlimited number of viewers while conserving station network bandwidth.

Vector 3 displayed and demonstrated VectorBox. It offers simultaneous ingest and playout with graphics from a single chassis and adds versatility and reliability to the channel-in-a-box solution to new heights.

VectorBox is the standard of quality for channels wanting a cost-effective solution for their playout. Besides automating playout, VectorBox generates live graphics to enable full channel branding. Integral use of XML for all metadata guarantees compatibility with any database or file system. VectorBox XL, VectorBox 8000HD, VectorBox LT, and VectorBox 6000 are all available in various configurations.

All the CiaB exhibitors we talked with agreed CaiB interest at the 2016 NAB Show was stronger than previous years.

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