Harmonic announced deals with Fox International Channels and Sky Italia and unveiled two new platforms: Polaris and ProMedia X, with new multiscreen packaging and origination capabilities for its VOS software-based processing system, as IBC opened yesterday.
Harmonic has unveiled Polaris, dubbed as a new ‘media orchestration’ platform, beginning with two products: Polaris Live and Polaris Advance. Polaris Live is a “manual device control application” that allows broadcasters to control playout from a touchscreen. “Touch a button and you can change the branding. Polaris Live allows you to do make real time decisions from a touchscreen without going through complex automation instructions,” said Harmonic CMO Peter Alexander at Harmonic’s IBC press event on Thursday.
Polaris Advance is an integrated channel playout automation system, based on Pebble Beach Systems technology, but which will be sold as a Harmonic product. This provides playout automation and is integrated with Harmonic’s Spectrum ChannelPort integrated channel playout system. In addition to the existing capabilites of Spectrum ChannelPort, Polaris Advance enables third party control of playout.
Harmonic is also investing in Pebble Beach Systems owner Vislink, taking a 3.3% stake, and has used IBC to unveil a partnership with Pebble Beach.
“One of the reasons for this investment was to show the longevity of the relationship and to show how serious we are about developing our products together,” said Alexander.
Alexander said that Fox International Channels had purchased Spectrum from Harmonic and Marina – the product on which Polaris Advance is based – from Pebble Beach but had expressed a desire for these products to work more closely together. Polaris will be part of VOS, the virtualisation framework unveiled by Harmonic at NAB Show.
In addition to Polaris, Harmonic has unveiled enhancements to its VOS processing platform covering multiscreen packaging and origination.
Speaking at the press event, Harmonic’s vice-president, product management, Tom Lattie said VOS unified all video preparation and delivery technology. Harmonic kicked off its VOS launch earlier this year by unveiling its Pure Compression Engine at NAB, supporting multiple codecs from a single platform. Lattie said that following the launch of the Electra VXM encoding platform at NAB, Harmonic has brought multiscreen technology into the product. “ProMedia X takes our origin technology to the next level,” he said. The product enables packaging on the fly to meet the needs of new multiscreen clients, said Lattie. “We’ve taken our multiscreen leadership and delivered them in a single software paltform that can be virtualised.”
Lattie said Harmonic’s customers had said they wanted virtualised video infrastructure. Moving to software had been a major change for the company, he added.
Massimo Bertolotti, head of innovation and engineering at Sky Italia, speaking Harmonic’s IBC press event, said that the pay TV operator’s iProvide internet TV service. Sky recently signed a deal with Telecom Italia to deliver its services over the latter’s fixed network. It had bult a new HD OTT headend to deliver its content to Telecom Italia’s ultra high bandwidth customers. Sky has tapped Harmonic’s Electra X product and ProMedia origin platform to delver the service. Sky worked with system integrator Comsytec to implement the project.
Harmonic’s Alexander said that customers such as Fox were looking to companies like Harmonic to build more complete solutions for them. “Increasingly we have t look at how we manage and orchestrate operations for the entire video delivery chain,” he said. “There is a need for a ‘media orchestration’ function. As we look forward with VOS, the notion of media orchestration is about changing the encoding rate of a channel, for example, or changing format from high-def for some programming to UHD for other forms of programming.”
Harmonic will be exhibiting at IBC on stand 1.B20