Share

Changing the Game for Broadcasters

By Reed Haslam, Director of Sales and Marketing at NVerzion

Over the last decade, the broadcast industry has undergone significant changes. Stations have migrated from tape to file-based workflows, SD to HD, and increasingly relied on automation to improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs.

While transitioning to a completely file-based workflow, many broadcasters came to rely upon channel-in-a-box (CIAB) automation solutions. CIAB solutions collapse many of the pieces that constitute a traditional master control and playout chain, including switchers, servers, graphics/channel branding, automation, and traffic/business service, into a single software platform powered by generic IT-based hardware. It is true that the CIAB approach offers simplicity and fast deployment times. However, it fails to address the fact that broadcasters are handling a growing amount of file-based video and audio content and need more efficiency, flexibility, scalability, and reliability than CIAB solutions can offer.

Drawbacks of CIAB Automation

A major challenge that broadcasters face with CIAB automation solutions is that some of these systems do not integrate with a station’s business service or traffic system, a central component related to sales and revenue. Moreover, broadcasters are constantly adding new pieces of equipment to their infrastructure. They need a flexible automation solution that offers guaranteed interoperability with third-party equipment, allowing them to repurpose existing hardware.

Maintaining a high-quality on-air presentation is also critical. Since CIAB solution collapse all of the main components of a traditional master control and playout chain into one system, it is less reliable. If one component fails, the entire workflow can be impacted.

Furthermore, CIAB systems stand in the way of growth. If broadcasters want to add another channel or subchannel, this might require significant upgrades. Stations need an automation solution that offers seamless scalability.

The Advantages of Choosing a Best-of-Breed Automation, Video Server, and Graphics Package

By choosing a best-of-breed automation, video server, and graphics package, broadcasters can address all of the challenges they encounter with CIAB systems and streamline their file-based workflows.

Rather than replace the complete broadcast workflow, a best-of-breed automation package enables broadcasters to work with third-party solutions, ensuring a more seamless, end-to-end broadcast experience for stations and viewers. This type of solution can be easily implemented into an existing infrastructure, saving broadcasters significant CAPEX and OPEX since they have the flexibility to choose only the equipment (e.g., video server, master control, and router) that best meets their needs.NVerzion - CLASS-CloudNine Image

Broadcasters will want to choose an automation solution that is based on a modular architecture. This guarantees the integrity of a station’s on-air presentation by eliminating any single point of failure within the file-based workflow. For example, if the graphics component fails, the station can bypass the graphics and still maintain the on-air signal.

A modular solution also allows stations to determine how the automation is going to be used, down to the component level. Based on their individual station needs, broadcasters can set up a single or multiple workstations dedicated to acquisition, preparation, and distribution, with simultaneous access to the system for multiple users. By giving broadcasters the power to control a broad range of components from one central platform, modular automation solutions reduce the number of errors that broadcasters are exposed to, increasing reliability in delivering a high-quality television viewing experience.

Another critical feature in an automation solution is scalability. Choosing a scalable automation platform, broadcasters can easily add new channels, without purchasing additional hardware. This capability will prove to be essential as stations participate in channel sharing and/or acquire additional channels in the future.

Furthermore, broadcasters will want to choose an automation solution which is completely configurable. This means that broadcasters can easily adapt the interface to resemble end-of-life systems from third-party manufacturers to reduce training and further simplify operations.

Adding a network-based video server to the package will provide broadcasters with all of the functionality found in a traditional video server, maximizing operational efficiencies, flexibility, and cost savings. The advanced features to look for in a video server include simple graphics (e.g., bugs, banners, bulletin boards, crawls, text, and animation), transcoding, network triggers, and the ability to deliver closed captions. By allowing broadcasters to simultaneously record and playout content from a wide range of third-party commercial and program delivery systems, as well as update metadata, cloud servers streamline operations, enabling versatile control of video from anywhere at any time.

Conclusion

Television viewers today expect a high-quality experience. Selecting a best-of-breed automation, video server, and graphics package provides broadcasters with a more reliable solution than CIAB systems. Using a solution such as the NVerzion CLASS-CloudNine package for acquisition, preparation, and playout of video and audio assets, broadcasters can take their workflow efficiencies and cost savings to new heights, while providing viewers with a state-of-the-art on-air presentation.

 

About Reed Haslam

NVerzion - Reed Haslam HeadshotReed Haslam is a seasoned broadcast industry professional with over 25 years of experience, specializing in project and product management. As the worldwide director of sales for NVerzion, a leading provider of cutting-edge tools for digital broadcasting and television station automation, Haslam spearheads the company’s business development, marketing, and sales activities. Prior to NVerzion, Haslam was a product manager at Vela, a North American manufacturer of digital video solutions. He began his broadcast career as a test technician for video and audio routers/master control switchers and has since worked in nearly every product and customer-focused area in the business. Haslam is a graduate of the ITT Technical Institute with a degree in electronic engineering technology, and also has a degree in business management from the University of Utah.

Broadcast Beat Magazine is an Official NAB Show Media partner and we cover Broadcast Engineering, Radio & TV Technology for the Animation, Broadcasting, Motion Picture and Post Production industries. We cover industry events and conventions like BroadcastAsia, CCW, IBC, SIGGRAPH, Digital Asset Symposium and more!
Broadcast Beat - Production Industry Resource