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Old September 20th, 2005, 11:51 AM   #1
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Playout Automation Server--Software?

Hey All,

I work with our local access station, and we're looking to install a video playback server to replace our SVHS playout system. The problem is--cost is prohibitive. The cheapest I could find was Leightronix's Nexus, which comes in at $6995 plus the cost of hard drives.

Because of the cost of video servers, we decided to build our own system. For about $400-$500, we can put together a computer with TV output that will get the job done. The problem is software.

The solution I came up with is to use WinDVD to play the MPEG files, and use Windows Scheduler to time the playback. While this solution works fine for me, I'd like something that's a little simpler for others to program.

Looking for video server software, the only solution I could find was a program called "DVPlay" (dv-play.com), which is fairly expensive and hard to work with (poor English translation).

My question is, does anyone know of any other playout automation software? I've found that usually hardware and software are tightly integrated--the software is only available with the hardware. DVPlay has the right idea--the executation is just poor.

In any case--if anyone knows of another program that might work for us, or of a cheap (read: sub-$2000) playout automation server (what are the chances of that ;-) ) please let me know here!

Hope someone here can help me out. Thanks in advance!
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Old September 20th, 2005, 02:59 PM   #2
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for 2000$ you can get any young guy knowing a bit of programming writing this for you with a nice interface. (about 1 hour of work)
I see a file browser windows to pick a avi file and load into a playlist.
the length of video is automatically shown .
you specify the start of the play, and the program warns you for overlaping movie (green file play entirely, red is too long, blue is too short-dead space will be present) and let you choose to shorten the video, delay all next plays, delay only next play and shorten it or try to get back on the schedule by shortening "dead space" if any
There should be an option for each file to make them unmovable in the schedule, unplayable at some hours.
Dead space is what happens when no movie take place.
By default you should be able to choose between do-nothing or play-ad list.
play ad list would be a list of files you can choose to fill dead space with several option (play sequentially, play random (but only once), play only between specific hours).

the play list will be a simple text delimited file you can load into excel.

from the hardware point of view, the avi is outputted to a firewire interface.
You can the convert the firewire stream to video with for example a cheap canopus converter.
if DV avi is to big for you, mpeg2 could be another solution with an hardware decoder.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 03:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giroud Francois
for 2000$ you can get any young guy knowing a bit of programming writing this for you with a nice interface. (about 1 hour of work)
I see a file browser windows to pick a avi file and load into a playlist.
the length of video is automatically shown .
you specify the start of the play, and the program warns you for overlaping movie (green file play entirely, red is too long, blue is too short-dead space will be present) and let you choose to shorten the video, delay all next plays, delay only next play and shorten it or try to get back on the schedule by shortening "dead space" if any
There should be an option for each file to make them unmovable in the schedule, unplayable at some hours.
Dead space is what happens when no movie take place.
By default you should be able to choose between do-nothing or play-ad list.
play ad list would be a list of files you can choose to fill dead space with several option (play sequentially, play random (but only once), play only between specific hours).
Very good point! I know a bit of programming, but I'm no expert. However, my cousin does a ton of programming--something like this should be no trouble for him, and he'll do it cheap ;-).

Thanks for the advice--I owe you one. :-)
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Old September 20th, 2005, 03:14 PM   #4
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visual basic is a very good tool for this.
all elements are available (to browse files, play movie, display tables)
I wrote such application , it was just different because the trigger was not time but a position delivered by a GPS.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 03:32 PM   #5
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Try VLC Media player/server for free

How about free? Here is the well regarded VLC Media player/server.
See if it meets your needs...
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
Joe Carney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 21st, 2005, 07:13 AM   #6
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Hi Eric,

I work for a company that produces Broadcast video servers. Although they are quite expensive, you get a server that has been custom made for the job.
If you want a fully automated system then that can cost quite a bit.

I came across this product that might interest you:
http://www.focusinfo.com/products/firestore/fs-2.htm

As for do-it-your-self you might want to look at WinAMP (http://www.winamp.com/), although mainly known for its audio playback, it can also play video. There are loads of plug-ins for it and who knows one might find one for timed video playout??? Possibly your cousin could write a plug-in for it if not.

You might also want to find a GPU which gives video overlay playback on the second video port. This then means that you can use VGA port 1 for creating your playlists, and video port 2 woudl be the video playout. The matrox GPUs can do this. However the program you decide to use would need to support Video overlay on the second port...

If you come across anything else, please let us know.

Cheers,

Ed
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