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Softron Media Services releases Smart Playout Engine


Smart Playout Engine
Multi-format, and multi output (Video and Streaming) with Graphics Overlay

At NAB2013, Softron Media Services has announced its new Smart Playout Engine (SPE) which will replace the current playout engine (NAVI) that is used in OnTheAir Video and OnTheAir NodeOnTheAir Video Express which is completely based on the QuickTime APIs will remain unchanged.

The current version of the playout engine has been used in most of our play out solutions (except OnTheAir Video Express) since 2003 and has allowed an unequaled stability and efficiency. It now allows the playout of up to 4 streams of HD on a Mac mini. Over the years, we have seen the changes in the number of formats and requirements our customer have as broadcasting on the Mac has become more and more accepted.

We are very proud to introduce our next generation of playout engine which we will start implementing in our playout solutions in the next few months. We think it brings most of the feature requests we had from our customers built on top of our many years (30!) experience on the market. Have a look below at what will make the Smart Playout Engine, the playout solution for the future.

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Wide range of codecs supported.
NAVI’s playout engine used to play only i-frame codecs. The new Smart Playout Engine will play files in almost all codecs you need in a professional broadcast. Apple ProRes, AVC-Intra, H.264, XDCAM EX, XDCAM HD.
QuickTime, MXF and .ts containers.
Containers are an important part to ensure the compatibility with most workflows. QuickTime’s .mov files are supported widely, but we know that some workflows require specific containers. MXF is used in various situations, as it is the container user by some Camera manufacturers or AVID for example. The Smart Playout Engine will be able to support .mov, .mxf and .ts files transparently, without the need of any additional option or third party requirement.
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Mix and Match multiple resolutions.
We know that you will receive files in different formats. Be it that you broadcast in HD, and have still “old” files in SD, or you are broadcasting in 1080i, but receive files in 720p. You don’t want to convert all your files to have the good dimension. And we don’t want you to either. Softron’s Smart Playout engine will mix and match multiple resolutions in the same playlist, seamlessly.
Video and Graphics on the same output.
Softron’s NAVI playout engine has a simple “logo overlay” option. For animated graphics, you had to use OnTheAir CG which is running on a different video card. And you then have to output the video with OnTheAir Video or OnTheAir Node to enter it in the card with OnTheAir CG to overlay the graphics. With Softron’s Smart Playout Engine, everything will be from the same output, with just one video card (or just streaming… see below…)
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Video and / or Streaming output.
Almost every TV station is streaming its program today. But most of the times, it requires an additional device. Also some Web-TVs only output to the Web, but they currently still must output to a video card first and then convert that for the web. With Softron’s Smart Playout Engine, you will be able, from the same application, to output to a video card for “regular” video broadcasting, and to the web for streaming. Web-TVs will also be able to “just” output to the web. No video card needed. Take one Mac mini, connect it to the web, and you’re good to go! Also, you can simply record a QuickTime H.264 file locally for compliance recording.

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