The demands placed on servers in broadcast environments have increased dramatically in recent years.
The number of operations they are used for and the intensity of those demands have grown as broadcasters switch to multiscreen, HD workflows. Digital Broadcast looks at some of the latest products on the market.
Omneon – Spectrum
Omneon’s modular Spectrum media server system allows for maximum flexibility during the initial configuration and adaptability in response to changing requirements, according to the manufacturer.
The system can be setup with entry-level storage capabilities and support for a handful of channels or scaled up to dozens of channels and hundreds of hours of content. Spectrum supports a variety of SD and HD formats, and numerous industry standards.
Additional services can be supported with the addition of new components protecting a user’s investment. Additional storage capacity or support for additional channels can be added in the same way allowing broadcasters to grow the system in time with their own expansion and needs.
Omneon recently launched the MediaDirector 2202, the latest iteration of the MediaDirector system controllers for the spectrum system.
MediaDirector 2202 extends the system’s bandwidth by an order of magnitude allowing broadcasters to meet the requirements that come with adding SD and HD channels allowing more file access and larger number of edit seats permitted in the production environment.
Omneon claims to have increased the reliability of its media servers within the Spectrum range by isolating individual components with the potential to fail, so that the failure of an individual part does not affect the overall operation.
Failure of a disk drive does not result in loss of content (Omneon claims that this means not even one dropped frame). The system also includes a redundant fibre channel to the disk storage arrays ensuring continuing operations in the event that one cable should become broken or is removed.
Software based data rebuilds ensure that if a file has previously failed, the chances of it happening again can be greatly reduced compared to a hardware based RAID system boosting the reliability of the Spectrum system.
EVS – XT+
EVS has upgraded its XT production server with the release of the XT+ earlier this year.
The new version has many of the same functionalities of its predecessor and is capable of operating in studio, near-live or live OB environments.
The XT+ provides always-on loop recording and multi-channel ingest of audio and video from any source, claims EVS.
The unit can provide a number of near-live applications including instant replays, live slow-motion, live editing, video delay and playout.
The upgrades include boosted internal storage of up to 12 disks; expandable storage with external 2RU arrays(up to 24 hot swappable disks for a total of 84 disks) and a 30 percent increase in bandwidth from the XT’s 11.5 HD streams to 15 HD streams with the XT+.
Vector 3 – Vector MultiPlay VServer
The Vector 3 MultiPlay VServer’s exclusive decoding system ensures support for future technologies supporting every new format and codec that is introduced to the market.
Supported compression formats include MPEG-2 IBP and I-Frame, DVCAM, DVCPRO25 and MJPEG among others. Supported file formats include Quicktime, MXf, raw, DV and AVI. Media can be mixed and played on the same server. Vector 3 claims that once the system is in place the studio operator does not even need to know which format is being used.
Operators can apply transitions between clips (including fades and wipes) with corresponding audio.
The server also includes a number of integrated, real-time effects.
The Vector MultiPlay VServer also provides an IPTV output for broadcast over IP. Output can be in the form of a compressed Windows Media 9 or QuickTime file stream ready for broadcast or a file series for broadcast from an external ISP.
Ross Video – SoftMetal Video Servers
Ross Video has advanced its SoftMetal 3000 Series of video servers with v4.3 software and the launch of the new “4 in, 4 out” configuration.
Version 4.3 builds on the features of the platform adding video disk control protocol (VDCP) over Ethernet and AMP automation control support. New Unicode character support makes SoftMetal a suitable choice for multi-language applications. The 3000 Series also features native support of 3D stereoscopic playout and record.
The 3000 Series is available in both standard and multi-definition versions with 1x2, 0x4, 2x4, and 4x4 configurations, supporting up to six simultaneous channels in SD and up to four simultaneous channels in HD.
It uses SATA tape drives and offers up to 14 TB of Media Storage in a compact 3RU.
The SoftMetal MD servers offer on-the-fly scaling on each output.
Clips are automatically converted as they play out either from SD to HD or HD to SD depending on the desired output, a bonus for systems with a mix of HD and SD clips.
Quantel – SQ server
The sQ server is the ingest, editing and playout server that underpins the company’s Enterprise sQ production suite.
Like many of its competitors, the sQ is fully scalable supporting any number of inputs and outputs from two to hundreds. The storage capacity is similarly scalable ranging from tens to thousands of hours.
Broadcast and browse media are locked together in a single database in the sQ server so that any editing decisions made on browse material are instantly reflected on the full resolution counterpart to provide the shortest possible time between ingest and playout, says Quantel.
To ensure reliability, the disk arrays have dual PSUs and keep working in the event of disk failure.
Disks are hot-swappable and rebuilds are automatic. The FrameMagic filing system means that defragmentation and consolidation are never required. This also means that sQ servers run at 100 percent even when fully loaded, there is no performance drop-off, according to Quantel.
SeaChange – universal media library
SeaChange’s answer to the massive storage requirements inherent to multi-screen delivery is the new Universal Media Library, a CDN-class library storage system.
The UML incorporates FalconStor’s widely proven Hyper File System, which delivers the throughput performance that CDN’s need to access content anywhere on a network. The unique chassis design of the UML consists of six blades that are serviceable even while operational, according to the company. Each blade module contains 12 top-load drive slots that enable simple drive replacement without impacting operations.
The manufacturer will also introduce a broadcast version of the UML, which is an IP hub optimised for tapeless infrastructures that can function as a play-to-air server and production storage platform for non-linear editing systems.
With edit-in-place support, the UML allows editors to manipulate programme content while it is still being ingested into the production storage. Paired with SeaChange’s MediaClient software codecs, play-to-air MediaClusters or standalone edge servers, it meets playout requirements for any size broadcast environment, claims the company.