Grass Valley Adds New Playout Features With iTX 2.8

Grass Valley is launching version 2.8 of its iTX Integrated Playout Platform at IBC 2015. This release further extends the functionality of iTX by removing yet more devices from the broadcast chain, reducing potential failure points and simplifying operation. Version 2.8 features two major developments—compressed IP input/output and full Softel subtitling/captioning functionality.

“iTX is the world’s most advanced playout solution for broadcast television,” said Mike Cronk, senior vice president of strategic marketing, Grass Valley. “We’ve had great feedback from our customers on their evolving needs, and with version 2.8, we are adding critical functionality that will enhance its value even further. By adding standards-based IP inputs and outputs plus a complete subtitle and captioning capability built from our own Softel IPR, we are delivering new operational models and workflows that make our customers more efficient.”

With iTX 2.8, broadcasters can now migrate to video-over-IP, either directly or in an incremental manner using a hybrid IP/SDI system. This transition to IP can be performed without having to change playout hardware. The IP I/O is based on H.264/MPEG 2 compressed IP inputs and outputs, and is implemented on Appliance 2 servers without any additional hardware changes. The compressed IP I/O is available in addition to the existing SDI I/O, allowing a phased transition to IP, with some channels played out via IP outputs and some played out by SDI.

The compressed IP inputs enable direct feeding of iTX via IRDs and content delivery devices, and the compressed IP outputs enable modern multiplexers or OTT services to be fed without a downstream encoder. Any playout facility looking to decrease the time to deploy new services, while also reducing the cost to operate these services, is a prime candidate for iTX. The system includes content ingest and media management tools, providing a complete, unified playout workflow solution.

The new Softel Inside option is a unique feature for iTX, as it represents the first time a fully featured subtitling/captioning system from a major subtitling/captioning vendor has been built into an integrated playout solution. The subtitling supports OP43/47/WST/EIA-608/CEA708 and DVB via IP, offering up to 20 languages per channel. The subtitling/captioning provides seamless integration with caption files from other major vendors for streamlined subtitling/caption insertion workflows and in keeping with the iTX ethos of empowering operators. Subtitles and captions can be previewed at the desktop.

iTX’s unified and streamlined workflows, from ingest to playout, have enabled broadcasters to reduce their OPEX, typically by around 20 percent per annum. iTX Delivery Manager now supports a wider number of asset delivery partners, which automates ingest of media and metadata as well as saving time and improving accuracy by eliminating repetitive, manual ingest tasks. iTX workflows have been further strengthened with automation of file-based QC systems and automated transcoding for delivery across multiple platforms and devices.

“With iTX, facilities can continue to operate with SDI playout, and upgrade to video-over-IP playout when they choose, without requiring a hardware change,” added Cronk. “Alternatively, they can transition directly to a pure IP channel if that’s what they need.”

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