Snell today announced the availability of major new graphics and character generator features in version 2.2 of the company's Integrated Content Engine (ICE). ICE Version 2.2 introduces additional branding tools for visually enhancing HD and/or SD channels, as well as customized VANC insertion that sets a new standard for channel-in-a-box playout solutions. Together these features enable users to reduce the cost and complexity of playout while maintaining or improving the on-air sophistication of their broadcasts.
"ICE redefines channel-in-a-box playout by delivering the full range of functionality users require while reducing overall system cost for a fully capable playout solution," said Neil Maycock, chief architect at Snell. "The new features we're showcasing at IBC2011 ensure that ICE remains the optimal solution for broadcasters that require richer graphics tools and more intelligent metadata handling, as well higher performance, better scalability, and greater operational versatility than other single-box systems."
ICE combines a video server, graphics, switchers, channel branding, captioning, and subtitling in a convenient 3-RU package, all managed by Morpheus automation. ICE offers a low-cost solution for start-up channels and serves as a cost-effective building block for distributed operations supporting activities such as regional program management and remote disaster recovery. The system works seamlessly with either SD or HD source material, managing all of the processes required to prepare pictures, sound, and ancillary data for the highest-quality HD playout.
Version 2.2 of ICE gives operators the ability to generate vertical and horizontal crawls via automated URL or RSS feed, or from manually created source information. Crawls can be created and keyed by an operator or fully automated by Morpheus. ICE now also offers multiple DVEs per mixer effect, thereby enabling users to squeeze multiple programs on-air while inserting graphics and audio effects (such as ICE-generated crawls, news tickers, animated lower-thirds, and program-specific voice-overs).
With more keyers available within ICE, users can leverage integration with the Morpheus MediaBall for dynamic creation and insertion of graphics and text for end credits, promo tagging, and other common actions. These graphics now can be scheduled via a traffic system, manipulated by an operator, or automatically inserted by Morpheus with information extracted from other sources, whether later in the playlist or from an external database. This approach eliminates the need for prerendering of advanced end pages, in turn giving users the flexibility to schedule and reschedule on-air programming without manipulating the promotional material that tells the viewers when and where to watch their favorite shows.
To meet headend requirements fully, ICE also is equipped to set specific VANC packets (such as SCTE-104) in the outgoing video path for each on-air channel. Because ICE handles this function internally, as well as AFD insertion, aspect ratio conversion, subtitling insertion, TC insertion, and live captioning insertion (Control A protocol), there is less need for the power, rack space, and maintenance of the traditional downstream hardware within the transmission path.
Further information about ICE and other Snell products is available online at www.snellgroup.com.