The future is in the cards
The Multiscreen encoding and transcoding cards provide a dense transcoding capability, supporting multiple profiles and bit rates simultaneously for multi-screen delivery. From one card, it is able to handle much of the preparation needed before content is sent from the main broadcast hub to local affiliates or online outlets. Its functions include input service replication, resolution change, interlace-to-progressive conversion, graphics rescaling and key-frame alignment. The end results of this setup are key-frame-aligned outputs in transport-stream format that are easily pushed along the broadcast chain.
Many similar solutions in the market offer software-based dense transcoding platforms, but only have IP interfaces with no provision for accepting baseband SDI/HD-SDI inputs or to turn around services from any input source. The Multiscreen system also provides the capability to support baseband inputs for encoding, as well as transcoding while maintaining high density and optimal systems integration.
For those looking for a complete system, the Unified headend chassis can hold a range of purpose-built cards, in addition to the encoding and transcoding cards, to handle switch IP/IO control, descrambling, audio leveling, DVB-S/S2, terrestrial, cable demodulating, multiplexing, modulation and general-purpose IP-IO, among many other capabilities.
Keeping IT simple
In terms of its core operations, all functionality within the headend can be configured and monitored using its integrated web-based user interface. Additionally, the system has a completely agnostic, open architecture with interfaces that include XML, SOAP and other industry-standard protocols. In this way, the Multiscreen system can work in conjunction with a range of installed systems, making it easy to implement enhanced capabilities for little investment.
With segmentation playing a big part in the distribution of these new streaming formats, the transcoding card can be configured to be compliant with a number of third-party segmentation devices. This allows broadcasters to maintain the segmentation devices already in place while still expanding their capabilities.
Broadcasters are in need of a single, multi-function platform that is capable of offering significant transcoding density, while providing comprehensive coverage of the other critical pieces required for a multiformat, adaptive-stream headend system. Although current software-based alternatives focus on dense transcoding, they lack flexibility and functionality in other key areas, forcing facilities to combine systems from multiple manufacturers. The new Multiscreen system is designed to resolve all of these problems.
—Carl Walter-Holst is CEO of Appear TV.