2020 was expected by many commentators to be the year the television industry began the advance from HD and 4K-UHD into 8K resolution. The reality was the Covid-19-imposed lockdown during which broadcasters found their output more appreciated than ever by their regional and international audiences.
"2021 proved a year of sustained demand for the PlayBox Neo range of TV channel presentation and playout equipment and services," says Pavlin Rahnev, the company's founder and CEO. "That momentum has continued through 2022 with substantial orders from satellite and terrestrial broadcasters as well as the television streaming divisions of major telco networks. I am pleased to report that we maintain our position as the worldwide leader in TV channel branding and playout.
"The return of trade shows such as NAB Las Vegas, IBC Amsterdam and NAB New York, after their lockdown years, provided useful opportunities for in-person meetings with existing and potential customers, distribution partners and system integrators, free from the phone calls that disrupt online team calls. The resultant feedback confirmed that a combination of onsite playout servers and network-attached storage, local or offsite, continues to be the preferred norm.
"2022 was an excellent year for customer projects, including notable successes in the Americas, APAC, MENA and Europe. Operational flexibility became more vital than ever during the lockdown years as channel owners faced the need to respond quickly to evolving market opportunities by scaling up with new program channels and OTT red-button services. PlayBox Neo continues to lead the way in producing playout and channel branding solutions that offer a high level of freedom in choice of workflow, choice of hardware and software location, choice of funding and ease of third-party device connectivity. Our channel-in-a-box and optional SaaS approaches are quick and easy to activate and allow capacity to be expanded within days or even held in reserve for very fast implementation.
"Efficiency and reliability also advanced in importance as content creators and system operators adjusted to lockdown-related changes in production and playout workflow. IP-connected remote system operation has long been an integral feature of PlayBox Neo solutions and continues to become more useful than ever. Our CIAB solutions also offer the proven advantages of space efficiency and reliability. AirBox-Neo-20 servers can be configured with any desired amount of backup redundancy including automatic switchover.
"Many broadcasters take reliability a major step further to safeguard their channels against potential flooding, loss of mains power or other potential causes of service discontinuity. Our IP-connected remote CIAB servers form the core of many offsite emergency recovery facilities.
"Centers of attention in our various PlayBox Neo customer demonstrations at events such as Broadcast Asia, CABSAT, NAB Las Vegas, IBC Amsterdam and NAB New York included our latest generation AirBox Neo-20 series playout system, the Media Gateway live content delivery and distribution solution, an enhanced Multi Playout Manager and the Capture Suite network-based multi-channel ingest controller.
"Introduced in Q3 2022, Media Gateway allows the entire process of playout routing and decoding to be handled in software. This eliminates the capital cost needed to operate hardware routers, codecs and related devices. Media Gateway can be installed onsite or in the cloud. Integral software codecs allow signals to be converted between SDI, NDI, SRT, UDP and RTP. Video and audio content can be sourced directly from a desktop screen and delivered as live feeds. A built-in multiviewer includes automated black-frame and frozen-frame alarms.
"Multi Playout Manager (MPM) is a long-established and industry-proven network workflow solution which allows multiple AirBox Neo-20 channels to be operated via IP from any network-connected location. Latest enhancements include an updated user interface, integrated playout preview and a new proxy generator with thumbnails. MPM's user interface matches those across the entire PlayBox Neo series. Also added are a future-playlist editor, support for custom metadata from AirBox Neo-20, plus a library module giving fast access to MAM.
"PlayBox Neo has responded positively to media industry trends over more than two decades and will continue to deliver practical, easy to operate and highly robust solutions where and when our customers need them."