Optimized EAS Software from PlayBox Neo Enables Customization for Several Channels While Reducing Potential Make-Goods

Nov 29, 2022
EAS workflow

PlayBox Neo, a leading provider of media playout solutions, announced the optimized integration of emergency alerts into the latest version of its PlayBox Neo Suite. The new EAS (Emergency Alert System) interface provides broadcasters with greater flexibility when airing emergency alerts and reduces the need for potential advertiser make-goods. Critical EAS data for crawls and audio is received by PlayBox Neo Suite, which extracts the data directly within the AirBox Neo-20 streaming and broadcast playout module and the TitleBox Neo-20 character generator.

In practice, alerts are received from U.S. government agencies into a Digital Alert Systems DASDEC™-III emergency messaging platform connected to a facility’s local network. EAS data is processed and sent using the EAS-Net™ protocol to the TitleBox Neo-20 system, where the on-screen text alert is generated. The corresponding audio stream is decoded and sent to the AirBox Neo-20 where it is delivered on-air, overriding the current program audio. A highlight of this workflow is the ability to feed multiple PlayBox Neo channel-in-a-box servers simultaneously, providing service for several channels or main and backup. 

Each channel's logo can be added separately to the EAS feed, colors customized, and the aspect ratio removed or changed to best accommodate the emergency alert graphic – without disturbing the SDI signal. The alert can also be delayed, running just after a commercial break. 

“This is a much smarter solution for EAS,” said Van Duke, U.S. Director of Operations. “It’s considerably more flexible in terms of how you can manipulate the alert. You can squeeze back the EAS graphic, so it doesn’t obscure vital information on programming, such as game scores. If the emergency alert occurs during a commercial break, the PlayBox Neo system can delay the alert by up to 15 minutes so the broadcaster doesn’t run the risk of muted commercial audio, obscured video or graphics, or anything else that would require a make good from the broadcaster to the advertiser.” 

With the PlayBox Neo solution, a single DASDEC can provide customized EAS alerts to several channels to establish consistent branding across all channels. “If the broadcaster simply wants to let the EAS signal go through, they can,” added Duke. “If they want to delay the alert five minutes, they can. Or they can do an overlay over current programming, with customizable graphic options. There’s less involvement with the SDI signal. There’s no going in and out of SDI. And each channel can be triggered with its own graphics and delay customization all from one application.”

For a brief run-through of the PlayBox/EAS workflow configuration, please watch this video

PlayBox Neo solutions provide a seamless workflow to keep channels on-air by combining scheduling, ingest, playout, CG and interactive graphics within one box and remote tools to enhance QC checks, preparation and monitoring. The output can be SDI and/or IP streaming and is suitable for a variety of applications including traditional broadcast TV, pay-TV, playout centers, satellite operators, etc.