IP ushers in a new age of fail-safe teleprompting

Vitec Group's Robin Brown is not lost for words
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Teleprompting is a critical essential in the broadcast chain, but one that’s often taken for granted. For a news anchor, there are fewer worse nightmares than a prompter that stops working on air and a script that disappears mid-read. However, as the efficiencies and flexibility of IP networks continue to transform broadcasting, Autoscript has been able to take advantage to develop a smooth, instant failover in the event of an equipment glitch.

An IP-based prompting workflow creates connectivity without requiring point-to-point connections and therefore delivers core redundancy. At the prompting application level, this enables a full-redundancy fail-safe by which a mirrored PC, paired with the main application, can seamlessly take over if the first PC/application fails — with automatic synchronisation of script position, individual users’ settings, controllers, newsroom connections, teleprompters, etc. Since all elements of the prompting system are networked devices and therefore not physically connected to each other, the existing controller(s) can continue working with prompts from the backup machine, wherever it is in the world. The on-air talent might notice nothing more than a fractional, millisecond pause in the scroll speed.

Autoscript’s WinPlus-IP is the only prompting software that currently offers this fully synchronised redundancy and mirror functionality. We see it as a key feature of an IP-based prompting workflow that enables broadcast operations to collaborate across geographies and allocate resources cost-effectively.

Delivering and displaying the video script on the prompting monitors is another area that is vastly improved in an IP-based workflow. Rather than sending a full video feed over IP, which poses bandwidth issues and increases the potential for latency and synchronisation problems, WinPlus-IP sends small unicast data packets. Intelligent Prompting monitors are equipped with built-in scroll technology that enables them to render the script video independently, based on the data packets sent over the IP network.

In the final analysis, the anchor or other on-air personality doesn’t care how the scripts are delivered; he or she just wants to be able to read the text at a comfortable and adjustable pace with no hiccups or interruptions. With Intelligent Prompting, we have ensured that the right built-in intelligence creates fail-safe reliability and a win-win situation: talent is enabled, and the broadcast operation is able to take maximum advantage of IP’s connectivity, flexibility, ease of use, and cost efficiencies.

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