As it seeks to grow its customer base out of the traditional playout market to further expand into production applications, server and storage supplier Omneon introduced at IBC a new software product designed to better manage the flow of content across its Spectrum servers and MediaGrid storage systems.
Taking a page from the IT world, Omneon's new Media Application Server is a software platform that aims to provide centralized management of content by decoupling client computers and data storage operations from media management and application processing. Embedded within the Omneon Media Application Server is the Media Services Framework (MSF), a Web-services application program interface (API) that third-party applications can use for managing content and processing media on Omneon systems.
The Media Application Server supports integration of third-party services for tasks such as archive management, quality control, content repurposing, branding, and graphics compositing. Omneon is now providing a full Media Application Server SDK (software developer kit), including API documentation and sample source code free of charge to licensed application developers.
Omneon is also introducing a new suite of applications based on the Media Application Server that it is demonstrating in its IBC booth, including Omneon ProXplore, a new clip and metadata management utility, and new versions of the Omneon ProBrowse proxy application and the Omneon ProXchange transcode application. They provide simple clip processing and management tools via a common Web-based user interface that can be made available throughout the enterprise.
The Media Application Server was developed in response to customers' struggles with the complexity of managing large content archives as they scale up their Omneon systems. It also addresses the challenge of quickly finding files to repurpose them for alternative distribution, such as to the Web or mobile platforms.
"One of the key benefits here is providing a central interface point which gives easier enterprise visibility for all of your assets, instead of having to query each database," says Omneon SVP Geoff Stedman. "It hides the complexity of individual products and presents a more singular view of assets stored across multiple systems."
Omneon also released new hardware aimed at the need to not only reliably play out real-time video channels but also to quickly transfer video as files around a broadcast plant, particularly in collaborative editing applications. The new MediaDirector 2202 module for the Spectrum video server system is designed to support ingest, edit, and playout all in the same format and from the same file system, eliminating transfer times and ensuring that content is ready for air as soon as production is completed.
The system delivers up to 600 MB/s of IP bandwidth, which allows for a higher seat count of editors accessing a single storage pool and more simultaneous high-speed file transfer operations. A single MediaDirector 2202 will support 24 channels of 50 Mbps MPEG-2 or 12 channels at 100 Mbps, and multiple MediaDirectors can be combined in a single file system to deliver much higher channel counts. Four MediaDirectors linked together can deliver 96 channels of 50 Mbps MPEG-2 or 48 channels at 100 Mbps.
The increased bandwidth of the new device gives customers headroom for higher-bit-rate production, says Stedman, with the boost in IP bandwidth the most significant benefit.
"Video servers used to be measured by real-time channels," he notes. "Now, the ability to transfer material as it's being recorded and while it's being played is a key requirement. If there has been any shortcoming of video servers, it is that they lacked good IP performance."