Harmonic, a specialist in video delivery infrastructure, has launched Spectrum X, a next-generation media server system at NAB.
Designed for production and playout applications, the Spectrum X media server system eases the transition to IP broadcast workflows by integrating SDI and IP I/O on the same chassis.
The software-based system leverages Harmonic's VOS technologies and combines file, baseband and transport stream ingest with comprehensive integrated channel playout (ICP) capabilities, including graphics and branding, DVE, master control switching and audio mixing.
Supporting a broad range of SD and HD formats, and upgradable to Ultra HD, the Spectrum X system can operate as a true channel-in-a-box (CIAB), as an integrated channel playout server, or as a conventional I/O server connected to Spectrum shared storage infrastructure or internal storage.
The Spectrum X server is being demonstrated at Harmonic stand at NAB, providing playout with graphics and branding to Harmonic's Ultra HD live workflow, making it the first Ultra HD CIAB solution.
“As the first playout server to mix SDI and IP I/O with up/down/cross-conversion capabilities in the same chassis, the Spectrum X server not only facilitates users' shift to IP playout, but also powers new revenue-generating services at a lower total cost of ownership,” said Bart Spriester, senior vice president, video products at Harmonic.
“Transitioning at their own pace, the Spectrum X server users can migrate smoothly and cost-effectively from the SDI workflows of today to the IP-based workflows expected to take off in the future. The software-based design of the system lends further flexibility to users by allowing them to reconfigure the Spectrum X system to suit the changing needs of specific channels, as well as providing a path to Ultra HD. Broadcasters immediately see new capabilities and benefits while avoiding the complexity inherent in deploying solutions built on single-function devices or single I/O interfaces.”
The Spectrum X server is an easy-to-deploy 1-RU ingest and playout system for up to four channels that fits seamlessly into any existing broadcast infrastructure, and can be operated as an SDI server within a conventional SDI infrastructure, an IP-based system, or a hybrid of the two.
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The server is a single-platform solution that can quickly be repurposed for any mission-critical production and playout workflow through simple license keying and reconfiguration. The system is ideal for a wide range of applications including CIAB and ICP workflows, integrated master control room (iMCR) deployments, hybrid baseband and IP playout environments, disaster recovery and Ultra HD playout.
The system can serve as a CIAB or as part of a spectrum shared storage infrastructure featuring rich ICP capabilities. Operators can create integrated video graphics and branding without custom authoring tools, and the Spectrum X server's integrated DVEs drive sophisticated content presentation.
All functionality is available via software licence keying, resulting in a highly flexible system that allows the easy addition of new codecs, CIAB functionality, IP I/O and other advanced features to baseband I/O when needed.
Because the Spectrum X system effectively provides the functionality of a full ingest-to-playout air chain in a single chassis, it simplifies the deployment of new features, reduces the need to acquire and integrate new hardware, and requires much less rack space, cooling and power to run channels. These benefits serve to lower capex and opex, and the corresponding reduction in workflow helps to minimize generational loss and improve video quality.
"The Harmonic Spectrum X server is ideal for media operations in transition — from SDI to IP, from traditional server to CIAB/ICP, and to or from internal storage or shared storage," Spriester added. "As a flexible, Intel-based solution that uses COTS hardware to provide, in a single chassis, functionality that once required very complex chains of hardware, the Spectrum X server embodies Harmonic's dedication to industry-innovation, reliability and dependability."
The Spectrum X media server offers full plug-and-play compatibility with the Harmonic Spectrum MediaDirector media server controller, Spectrum MediaCenter media server with integrated storage, Harmonic Polaris playout management systems and the Harmonic MediaGrid shared storage system.