Playout is an integral part of the broadcast workflow. As the final step in the broadcast chain, it enables content owners and broadcasters to assemble, schedule and distribute content to the end consumer. Playout technology has significantly improved over recent years and broadcasters can now use cloud playout solutions that are just as comprehensive and technically capable as their hardware-based equivalent. With cloud playout, broadcasters can leverage the flexibility and scalability of cloud to prepare media content, manage channels and launch new channels quickly, from any location. Additionally, operating from the cloud can help broadcasters to reduce the overall cost of operations because it can improve efficiency and reduce capital expenditure.
However, while the advantages of cloud playout are undeniable, not all cloud playout solutions are equal. This blog will consider the must-have features needed for efficient and professional cloud playout.
While some cloud playout platforms may appear to be all singing and all dancing with every possible feature imaginable, that doesn’t mean that they will be user-friendly and intuitive. If a cloud playout system isn’t easy to use, then it’s much more likely that undesirable and avoidable errors will happen during playout. A good cloud playout solution will be user-friendly and will have an intuitive user interface. And crucially, it will remain simple to use even as more channels are launched, or as workflows become more complex as additional inputs and outputs are added.
Channel management is naturally more complex in a multi-channel environment, so cloud playout solutions need features that simplify the playout process as much as possible. Along with a simple UI that makes it easy to visualise all channels in one place, it’s essential that a cloud playout solution can also automate certain tasks such as ingest and QC verification. Automation reduces the time that operators spend on repetitive and time-consuming tasks so that they can instead focus on complex tasks that require manual input, such as manual scheduling when live events overrun. Additionally, for effective multichannel broadcasting, cloud playout solutions need intelligent management and analytical tools.
Audio quality is non-negotiable in broadcasting. Cloud playout systems should provide advanced audio management capabilities, ensuring that broadcasters can deliver an immersive and high-quality audio experience to their audience. For the crème da la crème of broadcast audio, cloud playout platforms should provide the ability for channels to be created with high quality Dolby Audio. The inclusion of this feature ensures that channels are delivered to the viewer with higher quality audio that enhances clarity, detail, and depth.
Visual appeal is a significant factor in audience engagement. Cloud playout solutions with advanced graphics capabilities empower broadcasters to create a brand that identifies the channel to the audience with stunning visuals. From a simple channel logo created as a standard image file in PNG, TGA or JPG format, right through to complex animations created as Quicktime MOVs or image sequences with alpha channels that can be overlaid on top of the video content to tell the viewer what is playing and what is coming next, graphics are an essential part of your cloud playout system. They not only help to create a strong brand, but also enhance the overall viewer experience. Graphics need to be of the highest quality, so it’s also worth ensuring that your cloud playout solution also provides support of HTML5 for ease of use of the best performing graphics technology.
Veset Nimbus is a Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud playout platform for advanced linear channel origination and management. It can empower your team to create, schedule, distribute and monetise linear channels with any live or file-based content, for distribution to OTT, satellite, cable, or terrestrial TV. And with Veset’s REST Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), it is easy to integrate the playout solution into your existing infrastructure.
In terms of advanced features, it provides channel creation tools that enables multi-format file ingest and content management; ingest, switching, playout and record of multiple live feed inputs; Dolby 5.1 Audio; design of complex graphics including animations and dynamic data; creation, import and editing of playlists; dynamic insertion of targeted server-side ads for live and on-demand content; and the ability to encode and deliver customised, metadata rich EPGs to broadcast and OTT platforms.
To find out more about how Veset’s all-in-one cloud playout platform, Veset Nimbus, can help you to create and manage professional TV channels, get in touch.