By Loewe Tan
Cloud playout is no longer exclusive for large-scale 24/7 channels; digital media broadcasters are also looking at affordable cloud solutions to spin up more channels, or start pop-up channels. One of the biggest challenges in embracing cloud-based solutions is to accurately assess the cost-effeciency, robustness and reliability of the range of flexible cloud playout solutions in the marketplace. Until today, some broadcasters and media operators are still hazy about cloud-based solutions. Let’s take a look at some of the more versatile cloud playout solutions available to help broadcasters dispense the haze and embrace the cloud.
Grass valley Playout X
Grass Valley offers GV Playout X, a solution based on elastic compute technology, enabling broadcasters to spin up or spin down channels as and when needed, while only paying for the services they utilise.
Without the need to build any specific infrastructure, GV Playout X is a cloud-first solution that provides the flexibility to create new TV channels and playout streams in a matter of minutes. With the efficient use of resources, GV Playout X lowers the total cost of ownership and capital investment in infrastructure.
GV Playout X, built upon Grass Valley’s Agile Media Processing Platform (AMPP), is specially designed to support cloud-based live production needs.
PlayBox Neo Media Gateway
There is a common misconception that cloud charges for the ingress of data and a channel’s performance is largely dependent on the data processing platform. To dispel this notion, PlayBox Neo launched its Media Gateway at NAB New York last month.
Based on the PlayBox Neo Suite platform, Media Gateway is a live media delivery and distribution solution that can be installed in the cloud or on-premises. The new solution allows the entire process of playout routing and decoding to be handled in software.
It eliminates capital costs, rack space, maintenance charges and power needed to operate hardware routers, codecs and other related devices. Media Gateway can be easily installed on site or in the cloud. Integral software codecs allow signals to be converted between SDI, NDI, SRT, UDP and RTP. Video and audio content can be sourced directly from a desktop screen and delivered as live feeds.
Wildmoka Digital Media Factory
Traditionally, broadcast workflows are rather fragmented. Wildmoka, a digital media factory, has partnered with Qvest, an ICT integrator in the innovation-driven media industry, to equip Singapore national broadcaster Mediacorp with a new cloud-based tool for real-time clipping and distribution of content to support its broadcast operations.
The new workflow is based on the Wildmoka ‘Digital Media Factory’ and allows Mediacorp to create and distribute content such as near-live clips and highlight reels across web, mobile, OTT and social media platforms, as well as long-format video on demand.
Together with the implementation partner Qvest and its local team in Singapore, the Wildmoka experts added the easy-to-use solution editing tool for Mediacorp’s operations.
Mediacorp supports the broadcast operations of the Singapore parliamentary proceedings, where sessions with speeches and debates between members of parliament could last for several hours. The sessions are recorded and archived in their entirety as large video files. Editing of the recordings in multiple languages is now possible with five audio tracks.
Thus, Mediacorp records the republic’s parliamentary sessions in the four official languages — English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Ambience sound is also captured with one of the five tracks. This new web-based content creation solution allows parliamentary videos to be captured and published in full as well as short media clips in all official languages of Singapore.
Imagine Communication Versio
With growing market demand for easy-to-deploy cloud playout solutions, Imagine Communications is now offering Versio, a fully software-based ecosystem. Versio provides media companies with increased agility to launch new channels and services, explore new revenue ideas, and reduce total cost of ownership.
Versio enables users to operate a single playout ecosystem to generate content for broadcast, over-the-top (OTT), linear, non-linear, mobile, or on any other platform.
Two months ago, Al Sharqiya Group, Iraq’s leading commercial broadcaster, implemented a comprehensive playout system built around Versio.
“Setting technical considerations aside, the really important question in a master control environment is about how easy it is to use the system – that is number one,” said Ahmed Bin-Afif, CTO of Al Sharqiya Group.
“The ease of use, the flexibility, the ease of manipulating the content, these are major advantages of Imagine’s Versio playout system. Versio also gives us a solid foundation for the future as it is easy to add channels, to complete our transition to SMPTE ST 2110 and to move to UHD when our audience demands it.”
Bin-Afif added, “We are also looking towards the cloud for our operations, because of the collaborations we have between our bases in Iraq, across the Middle East and London, and because of our growing archive.
“In fact, Al Sharqiya Group is launching a new OTT service called 1001 at the beginning of 2023 and Imagine is an important part of that plan.”
Indeed, cloud-based solutions have enabled a paradigm shift in broadcast workflow and content playout. Broadcasters today need to deliver more content across more outlets, while maximising returns in investment and operational efficiencies. Different broadcasters require different functionalities — and what is needed is to find an agile, adaptable and easily scalable system at affordable cost. With the plethora of software-defined solutions coming into the market, there should be one that will suit your needs … but just make sure it is NDI-enabled!