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Imagine Boosts Production and Distribution Efficiencies – Enhancements to SNP and Magellan SDNO

In support of evolving customer requirements, Imagine Communications has added a range of new functionality to its Selenio Network Processor (SNP) platform and Magellan SDNO  Control System. These new software feature releases enhance customers’ existing investments, driving further efficiencies in production, playout and distribution architectures. The SNP update also activates the feature licensing system, allowing users to realise one of the key benefits of virtualised software: the ability to pay for only the functionality required for their specific workflows.

Imagine’s SNP has gained rapid marketplace acceptance across both IP-based and SDI-based systems, with an estimated 32,000 video channels and 500,000 audio channels of SNP currently operational around the world. Many of these deployments include the Magellan SDNO control system, integrating SDI and IP systems within a common management environment – instrumental to global media companies’ ability to protect legacy investments and make a managed transition to IP.

“The success of SNP is because we listened carefully to what broadcasters were telling us they need in their production setups,” said John Mailhot, CTO Networking and Infrastructure at Imagine Communications. “We worked hard to have the right product at the right time with SNP. It builds on the traditional modular processing idea, but without the screwdriver. The SNP base hardware is dynamically reconfigurable, so we can add new functionality by developing the software plug-in and roll it out very quickly worldwide – especially to existing customers.”

The SNP is a 1RU, network-attached device containing four independent processors, each of which can adopt personalities defined by software. While many media processes are moving to full-software implementations, SNP offers a unique space- and power-efficient proposition for common signal processing functions – cutting power consumption for these applications by more than 50 percent.

Shipping SNP functions today include synchronisation, SDI/IP conversions, colourspace processing and conversions, including HDR, video scan format conversion (SD/HD/UHD), and production multiviewers. In the multiviewer use case (SNP-MV), each processor block handles nine signals onto one or two UHD canvases, scaling to 36 PIPs, with full ST 2110-20 inputs and outputs. SNP-MV supports HDR sources and HDR displays and conversions into a common format, translating as needed between HLG, PQ, Slog3, and traditional SDR. The latest version of software enables rotated ‘portrait’ outputs for multiviewer applications that use vertical displays.

In order to match live shots with graded production footage, the SNP platform’s conversion personalities also now support user-furnished 3D CUBE LUTs to give complete control over colour processing and HDR conversion. The new software also introduces additional frame rates (23.98, 24, 25 and 29.97) for UHD and 1080p, and adds support for 8K signals.

The IP networking industry has been busily rolling out 400GBE ports in core switches and the latest SNP release includes support for DR/FR style 100G QSFPs. This new technology allows efficient connection of four SNP units to a single 400G network switchport through straightforward optics, providing extremely efficient system density. 100G and 400G optics for longer fiber hauls are also becoming more common and more cost-effective, extending the reach of the ‘campus’ across tens of kilometres.

The next software release for SNP will add processing personalities for JPEG XS compression; this high-performance, low-latency contribution format is expected to transform not only contribution and backhaul circuits, but also provide a practical and effective way to deliver premium content to and from the cloud – a linchpin of moving to cloud-enabled workflows for high-value productions.

“The unique form factor of SNP means we can offer all this functionality and practicality at a remarkable price point,” Mailhot continued. “Our feature-key licensing system allows customers to install hardware once, buy only the features they need to do the job at hand, and add functionality later as needs evolve.”

On the control front, the latest Magellan SDNO release builds on the popular AMWA NMOS protocols introduced on SDNO last year. Imagine is now using NMOS in nearly every project deployment to integrate ST 2110 endpoints from other leading vendors, enabling customers to build best-of-breed solutions leveraging the cameras, switchers, audio, and replay technologies that their creative teams prefer.

The new SDNO release extends the Live Manager applications – PathView and AlarmView – providing dynamic insight and interaction with the networked media ecosystem. LM-PathView provides a dynamic signal path display for both SDI and IP routing environments, allowing users to simply drag and drop sources and destinations onto the visualisation canvas, with Magellan graphically completing the entire signal path including logical and virtual waypoints and optionally displaying multi-level signals with ease.

IP networks enable the construction of very large facilities with very large routing databases. The latest SDNO release includes significant enhancements to the salvo, template, and database editors, simplifying adding, searching, and editing the database. While non-blocking designs are generally a goal, recently Magellan SDNO also introduced  bandwidth management support for spine/leaf topologies, supporting both Arista-based and Cisco-based networks – enabling operational routing even in potentially blocking topologies.
This latest software is fully released and available for existing and new customers. Existing SNP installations can be securely upgraded with new software during scheduled maintenance.


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