News Production & Post

ChannelPort set to shake up channel branding sector

1 March 2012

Harmonic has announced ChannelPort, the launch of which Omneon co-founder Larry Kaplan says “is on the same level as Spectrum and MediaGrid in terms of its importance,” writes Fergal Ringrose. “Broadcasters don’t just want a Channel in a Box,” Kaplan told TVBEurope. “We’re going to go way beyond that.” Kaplan said Harmonic’s research had shown that broadcasters are still very reluctant to use the branded-channel playout approach on major revenue-generating channels.

ChannelPort is designed to help them launch branded channels and services while reducing costs. “We think we’re factors more efficient in terms of space utilisation and power consumption,” he said.  Harmonic has also scrutinised issues such as set-up time, existing infrastructure incompatibility, stability and reliability in designing ChannelPort. Kaplan confirmed this development has been ongoing since before the acquisition of Omneon by Harmonic happened in 2010.  “Broadcasters will not be locked into automation, as we’re an application-enabling platform,” he said. “They don’t need to worry about proprietary graphics, as designers can author on-air templates directly on Adobe Flash Professional.” The company however is offering its own “broadcast-hardened” flavour, as Kaplan said, “we looked at Flash and decided it wasn’t good enough. “Using ChannelPort, a facility can add not only playout channels, but also functionality that traditionally has required five or six separate components in the transmission chain.” Harmonic says the product is the first of its type to offer customers their choice of automation for branding and playout control, and the only one that can be deployed either as a small standalone system or as a large scalable solution using the same component. All codecs, video processing, template execution, and graphics compositing are implemented in software, which can be updated in the field to deliver additional features as required, protecting long-term investment. ChannelPort is available in three configurations: as a stand-alone half-RU device that adds branding capabilities to a Spectrum system; integrated in a MediaDeck 7000 chassis to function as a stand-alone branding server; and integrated in either a MediaPort 7000 or MediaDeck 7000 chassis to function with both those devices as a stand-alone branding server with media ingest capabilities.

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