"Competition for viewer attention between terrestrial, satellite and online-streaming delivery will continue to increase during 2018," comments PlayBox Technology CEO Pavlin Rahnev. "Which route the output from our products takes during delivery to viewers is largely academic. Our role in the workflow is to ensure that all content, interstitials and region-specific commercials are safely integrated into the broadcaster's transmission schedule, ready for fully automated or manually supervised playout. Most broadcasters also need the freedom to make live or near-live inserts, especially for late-breaking news, and obviously we provide that facility.
"Reliability and flexibility will continue to be in strong demand. Our server-based Neo system can be configured from a wide range of software modules. Newest of these is Neo TS Time Delay which provides fully transparent delay of IP transport streams for single or multichannel time zone shift and disaster-recovery applications.
"Many broadcasters see SaaS-based 'virtual playout' as a way to reduce the cost of programme production and delivery. Our CloudAir frees broadcasters from the need to possess, operate and maintain their own hardware. The savings in space and staff overheads can be substantial, especially for a channel located in the centre of a major city. Core hardware is located at the broadcaster's choice of remote playout centre, typically a 24/7 service provider located wherever the customer chooses. Channel managers are then free to manage their programme schedules, ad sales, media management and monitoring via a standard IP-connected browser which can be located practically anywhere.
"Many broadcasters are still making the transition from SD to running parallel SD/HD channels but an expected trend for 2018 will be increasing interest in 4K UHD."