BEIJING – PlayBox Technology has announced the completion of a new television playout system at StarTimes, one of China’s leading digital broadcast service providers. The system comprises 12 fully redundant AirBox Neo IP streaming channels in a 6 + 6 dual channel configurations to provide full 1:1 backup protection.


“StarTimes has partnered with us successfully for many years in providing playout systems to its customers. The StarTimes engineering and operational teams know from direct experience that AirBox Neo is reliable, operator friendly and space efficient. This system will be used to provide broadcasting services directly from StarTimes’ own broadcast control facility,” commented PlayBox Technology Asia Pacific engineer K. K. Lee.


“The whole idea is to replace the old playout servers StarTimes was using. Core equipment in this new installation consists of 12 AirBox Neo streaming servers plus SafeBox Neo software which replicates the content and playlists to local playout server folders prior to transmission. Each server outputs to a DVB encoder and thence to the main transmission feeds. We have also integrated PlayBox Technology ListBox Neo playlist preparation, TitleBox Neo CG and graphics playout and our QCBox Neo quality control modules.”


The QCBox Neo modules analyse relevant media files in a playlist, folder or selected files. Basic tests include checking for correct duration of streams, continuity, frozen and black frames as well as audio tests, including loudness, phase and audio levels measurements. Test results are stored in a metadata file that accompanies the media file prior to programme playout on AirBox Neo.


The metadata file is then checked and the AirBox Neo playout can be configured to skip the file, show a warning before playing the file, or play the file depending on the data parameters. In addition, the loudness measurement data from QCBox Neo can be used for automatic adjustment of the audio playback levels.


“We have also supplied two PlayBox Neo DVB subtitling servers which can be used for multi-language DVB subtitling integrated with AirBox Neo output streams. This is a relatively standard configuration and one that has worked very well across many highly successful playout system installations. Connected third-party equipment includes a media asset manager and transmission multiplexers,” added Lee.


Designed for 24/7 unattended operation, PlayBox Technology AirBox Neo can also be operated manually, including the ability to handle live-to-air throughput. UHD, HD and SD are all supported in single server. Features include a streaming input supporting HTTP, HTTP Secure, UDP, RTMP, MMS, MMSH and YouTube. RTMP streaming output allows easy web streaming.


StarTimes is a Chinese multinational media company which provides digital television technologies to broadcasters who are switching from analogue to digital transmission. As of 2017, StarTimes operates in 30 countries and serves 10 million subscribers.


PlayBox Technology is an international communications and information technology company serving the broadcast and corporate sectors in more than 120 countries. PlayBox Technology Limited is dedicated to the research, design, development and provision of the best products, systems, solutions and services.


Over 18,000 TV and branding channels are now powered by PlayBox Technology broadcast solutions. Users include national and international broadcasters, start-up TV channels, webcasters, interactive TV and music channels, film channels, remote TV channels and disaster recovery channels. They are able to deliver their content as baseband (SD/HD SDI) or DVB/ATSC-compliant streams as well as in web-based formats such as RTMP. Simulcasting of SDI and one or multiple streams is also possible.