PlayBox Technology, the leading channel in a box provider for media companies worldwide, has installed a Channel in a Box system for N4, a free-to-air channel in Iceland. The channel produces its own content, including some live magazine programmes, as part of its 24-hour service.
N4 is based in Akureyri, in the north of Iceland. It is one of a number of competing free-to-air channels available in the country over digital terrestrial broadcasting and IPTV. It is the only channel with headquarters outside of the Reykjavík capital area/metropolitan area. Its content focuses on lifestyle and distinctively Icelandic content, emphasizing stories from regular people along with known individuals. As well as its rolling broadcasts, it also produces an online video magazine programme.
To deliver a premium channel experience with the minimum of staffing, N4 sought a software integrated playout solution. Something that is simple to use, yet capable of delivering complex customization. Having identified the PlayBox system as the right path for them, N4 worked with local system integrator Exton to design and install the system.
“We showed that, with PlayBox playout software, we could provide completely secure, completely resilient HD output,” said Vilhjálmur Hjálmarsson of Exton. “N4 uses the PlayBox platform to plan its schedule as well as run the daily playlist with full automation, minimising the impact on technical staff. Yet it is flexible enough to allow them to break out with live programming when needed, including commercial breaks.”
The system covers the complete range of playout requirements, from content ingest through asset management to schedule and playlist development and frame-accurate delivery. It is capable of 4k Ultra HD, although N4 is running in HD at present. It supports both ingest and delivery as SDI or as IP, including full compatibility with the SMPTE ST 2110 family of standards.
The sophisticated playout software platform is the result of 15 years’ experience. PlayBox continually refines and refreshes its technology in line with growing expectations. Today, Channel in a Box is a modular software system running on standard IT hardware, which can be configured to meet the needs of the user, including extensive redundancy.
“Our playout software is ideal for broadcasters like N4, who have to exceed audience expectations in a crowded, competitive market, yet work within a carefully constrained budget,” said Philip Neighbour, COO at PlayBox Technology UK. “Underlining the power of virtualised software, Exton was able to configure the system to precisely meet N4’s needs.”