The BIG Interview
SI feature in December 2013 RFV
PlayBox Technology has nearly 14 years of experience producing complete broadcast systems based on modular software and hardware.
“We pioneered what is today termed the ‘channel-in-a-box’ approach which gives broadcasters the resources they need to establish new programme streams quickly, efficiently and in minimal rack space,” explains UK Sales Director Ben Gunkel. “All our software and hardware are created in-house for integration into fully cohesive systems which can be operated by anyone familiar with the concepts of standard internet browsing. Channel-in-a-box was initially viewed as cost-efficient alternative to traditional hardware-intensive technology but is now the preferred choice both for new start-up channels and for existing broadcasters seeking to expand their output. We can provide what amounts to a master-control-room-in-a-box under full local control. Alternatively, a PlayBox Technology system can be installed at a remote playout centre and controlled from the customer’s headquarters via a secure intranet link
Recent PlayBox Technology installations include The Player Channel (London), EbonyLife TV (Nigeria), STN Slovenia and TVB Hong Kong.
The Player Channel
Europe’s largest dedicated broadcast gaming network, The Player Channel chose the PlayBox Technology EdgeBox automated remote playout solution. “The installation gives us dynamic playlist and graphics control from our operations centre in London,” says Crispin Nieboer, founder of The Player Channel. “PlayBox Technology installed the entire system within one week and provided onsite training at our Hammersmith studios. Easy to use, highly responsive and very reliable, it has proved a real winner.”
EbonyLife TV chose a complete broadcast system fromPlayBox Technology for a new high-definition channel transmitting by direct satellite to subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa. The installation includes ingest, storage, content management, channel branding and playout automation using PlayBox Technology’s flagship AirBox and TitleBox servers. “Our production staff like the system’s fast and logical user interface which gives them all the information and control they need to perform each specific task,” says EbonyLife TV founder and seasoned broadcaster Mo Abudu. “Our technical management team appreciate the system’s reliability. Knowing that it works and is fully protected by redundant PlayBox Technology servers, we are able to concentrate on our main objective of originating entertaining and informative programmes.”
“EbonyLife TV produces a large proportion of its content in house,” adds PlayBox Technology Managing Partner and Director, Sales, Don Ash. “For that reason, it needed a solution which could capture and pass live video and audio content as well handle pre-prepared files. The system we have provided is capable of easy expansion if or when the station introduces additional channels. It was installed over a two week period prior to the channel going live at the beginning of July.”
STN Slovenia chose PlayBox Technology automated playout servers for the satellite teleport at its headquarters in Ljubljana. A total of 15 systems have been installed in an ongoing project, each configured for remote operation by STN’s clients.
“We operate a fully file-based global television playout service,” comments Tomaz Lovsin, Managing Director of STN. “We have been using PlayBox Technology channel-in-a-boxsystems successfully for over three years. Their modular structure gives us the ability to configure high-definition and standard-definition systems matching the specific requirements requested by our clients, including optional primary and secondary channels. The user interface is straightforward and logical right across the PlayBox Technology system, which makes staff training very easy. Each channel is fully self-contained and structurally compact, just one rack unit, which makes expansion very easy both to accommodate extra channels or to deliver additional features to existing clients.”
“Intuitive user interfaces have been a central feature of our broadcast automation systems right back to our first Channel-in-a-Box system in 1999,” adds PlayBox Technology Regional Sales Manager Vlademir Stanic. “Each channel includes a CaptureBox, TitleBox and AirBox, giving operators control of their channel from any location. This includes file ingest and scheduling, graphics creation, resolution scaling, frame-rate conversion, aspect-ratio conversion, multiple audio and subtitle streams and content validation. Each system feeds direct to multiviewers and transmission encoders.”
TVB Hong Kong
PlayBox Technology also recently completed a major upgrade to the playout facilities at the studios of Hong Kong’s largest independent broadcaster, Television Broadcasts Ltd (TVB). The project, which also included customer training, was completed together with the engineering team from Mediatech (International) Ltd, the local PlayBox Technology partner. It was finalised with the installation of 26 servers at the network’s headquarters in TVB City, Kowloon. The installation encompassed nine high definition 24/7 channels. Seven of them are already on air and the others are in precommission testing. The servers installed consist of PlayBox Technology AirBox and TitleBox, for playout, with character generation and graphics. Eighteen are configured with 1:1 redundancy level for main and back-up operation on the nine high-definition channels. Control of the nine high-definition channels is via Multi Playout Manager, a fully assignable monitoring and control system. Two redundant Multi Backup Manager servers were added to manage redundancy switching on an existing third-party router.