Tightrope Media Systems today announced the new Cablecast VIO family, the latest generation of multi-format video servers for the highly-acclaimed Cablecast Community Media platform. First previewed at the 2019 NAB Show earlier this month, the new servers expand on the versatility, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of preceding models by consolidating more of the platform’s rich functionality into a single hardware unit and offering broader live and file-based native format support.
Cablecast VIO provides a powerful and reliable foundation for station automation, playout, branding and multi-platform content distribution. Users can take complete control of content scheduling, publishing and playout from anywhere, on any device, through an intuitive, web-based interface. The Cablecast VIO series amplifies the Cablecast platform’s efficient workflow integration by enabling more of its software options to run together on just one server, significantly lowering hardware costs while minimizing space, power, cooling and maintenance requirements.
Most notably, broadcasters can now operate their community bulletin boards on the same server that powers their scheduling, automation and playout. Each Cablecast VIO server can run multiple instances of Cablecast CG, the broadcast-optimized bulletin board software based on the Carousel digital signage engine.
“While Cablecast has long offered seamless workflow integration between its automation and bulletin board capabilities, customers previously deployed our bulletin board software on separate hardware,” said Steve Israelsky, President, Cablecast Community Media. “With Cablecast VIO, stations can add Cablecast CG software for each channel’s bulletin board directly within their playout and automation server, reducing both equipment and operating costs. Bringing the bulletin board software onto the same system as channel playout and on-air graphics such as live branding and crawls will also enable new software capabilities and efficiencies in the future.”
The Cablecast VIO series further minimizes hardware requirements by delivering increased channel density. The flagship Cablecast VIO 4 Plus model provides six SDI interfaces that can be configured as four outputs with two recording channels, or as three inputs and three outputs. “This is perfect for PEG broadcasters with public, education and government access offerings, as they can run all three channels and their bulletin boards on one server, significantly reducing the overall system price,” added Israelsky.
Cablecast VIO’s extensive baseband I/O is complemented by support for live, IP-based inputs. Building on the RTP stream input feature first introduced on Cablecast Flex servers, Cablecast VIO can ingest live, H.264-encoded RTP, RTMP or HLS streams without needing an external decoder or consuming an SDI interface. Users can bring in live feeds of events such as council meetings and sports from remote sites over an IP network, or pull in sources such as YouTube or Facebook Live streams for integration into their channels.
Cablecast VIO video servers also expand on the Cablecast family’s renowned multi-format playout capabilities, which enable media files encoded in a wide variety of formats to be directly played out without transcoding. New codec compatibility including VP8 and Theora combines with support for non-broadcast-standard frame rates to enable easy use of Internet-originated content. Cablecast VIO also adds space-efficient H.264 encoding for channel recording, reducing storage consumption to maximize available recording time while maintaining stellar visual quality.
Additional Cablecast VIO models offer optimized configurations for customers with lower channel requirements than the Cablecast VIO 4 Plus. Cablecast VIO Lite includes 8TB of storage and two SDI interfaces, which can be configured as two outputs or one input and one output. The Cablecast VIO 2 features the same I/O capabilities as Cablecast VIO Lite but includes from 10TB to 40TB of storage, while the Cablecast VIO 4 provides four SDI channels that can be flexibly configured as either inputs or outputs. All of the above models include the latest version of the Cablecast Broadcast Automation software, with Cablecast CG available as an option. For users without automation and playout requirements, the specialized Cablecast VIO CG model sports the same hardware as Cablecast Lite for dedicated bulletin board applications.