November 22, 2021

Practical New Functionality for Contribution and Branding Added to Imagine Communications' Selenio Network Processor

Major new software personalities cement SNP’s place as an indispensable part of modern broadcast architectures

TORONTO, November 22, 2021 – Widely deployed in both IP and SDI broadcast workflows around the world, Imagine Communications’ Selenio™ Network Processor (SNP) has added an array of new software features that enhance customers’ existing investments, driving further efficiencies in production, playout and distribution architectures.

Imagine’s SNP is a proven and popular video and audio processor platform. Its software-based architecture allows it to deliver all the functionality of a traditional modular processor chassis, but in an infinitely flexible, instantly reconfigurable form.

The latest major software releases add several important new software capabilities, including JPEG XS encoding and decoding; an automated changeover switch (ACO); an advanced keyer (DSK); and additional audio management capabilities. These new personalities can be enabled on any SNP in the field, and all take advantage of the core processing of the SNP, including the ability to easily combine HD and UHD, SDR and HDR, and SDI and IP connectivity.

“Imagine is renowned for its modular video processing products,” said John Mailhot, CTO Networking and Infrastructure at Imagine Communications. “SNP is a software equivalent, with the huge advantages that you can plug in SDI or IP, you can add functionality by licensing the software, and you can switch between personalities quickly ― so a processor chain can be an audio shuffler and up-mixer for one show, and a production multiviewer the next.

“The great advantage of this approach is that we can continually add new functionality, which our customers can add without buying additional hardware or re-architecting their machine rooms.”

JPEG XS is a transformational codec, offering visually lossless production and contribution quality, at very low latency (less than a frame), and typical compression ratios between 5:1 and 20:1. The result is an ideal means of communicating between facilities or between remote production sites and a broadcast center; it can also be used as an on-ramp and off-ramp to cloud-based production, with significant savings in bandwidth cost. The JPEG XS codec will be available as an SNP software personality at resolutions up to UHD/4K (and HDR). The user can tailor the bits-per-pixel (coding rate) for the specifics of the application; Imagine is also working with leading cloud providers to create ground-to-cloud connections.

Available in the latest SNP release is an automatic changeover switch (ACO), which uses content-aware metrics to determine the health of each feed, in terms of video presence and quality, caption presence, and audio presence, audio levels, and more. The ACO function switches seamlessly between A and B feeds to maintain a consistent on-air output. As well as automated operation, users can take manual control of changeovers. With the Imagine CCSP protocol, which is supported by every control system in the industry, this ACO functionality can be integrated into any project straight away.

A downstream keyer (DSK) is also being added to SNP’s capabilities. This offers four layers of keying and supports UHD/4K and HDR, using external and internal keys. The feature supports graphics sequencing and animations, and it uses SNP core functionality to allow mixed IP and SDI inputs and outputs. Coupled with the ability to make A/B transitions and leveraging SNP’s existing dual-UHD conversion personality, the result is a powerful master control switcher with the ability to up- and down-convert mixed format content into a consistent UHD presentation with UHD graphics.

The latest SNP release adds support for up to 16 audio channels within each audio stream (across all personalities). Imagine has also upgraded the SNP’s audio shuffling and remapping capabilities to allow more complex audio channel mapping amongst the MADI, embedded, and IP inputs and outputs.

In addition, the latest release brings significant enhancements to the SNP-MV production multiviewer personality, including caption/subtitle rendering and a large set of new on-screen indicators and alarms.

“We are pleased that users around the world are seizing upon the power and simplicity of the SNP, as well as, of course, its compact form factor,” Mailhot added. “Its success means we have a vast user base suggesting new functionality that will cement the SNP’s place at the heart of modern IP and hybrid architectures. We continue to develop and deliver this new functionality, and each new release brings an advance in capabilities.”

Each 1RU SNP contains four independent processing chains, which can run completely separate features or can be ganged to add capacity: the SNP-MV multiviewer, for example, can put nine PiPs on two UHD screens using one chain, or up to 36 PiPs across two UHD screens (portrait or landscape) by combining the chains.

The first of these new SNP personalities and features are now available for ordering, and upcoming features will roll out in phases over the upcoming months.

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