IDX Jumps into Server Market with PlayMagic, a Bridge to IT

IDX has made a leap into the server market, unveiling a multiformat playout server at the NAB Show. The MFP-100, dubbed PlayMagic, is IDX’s first foray into the postproduction market. The 1RU unit is solid-state–based, extremely small, and highly stable.

“Twenty years ago, we were the first to introduce lithium ion for the broadcast industry,” says Vickii Chafee, general manager of sales and marketing. “If we’re going to innovate again, we’ve got to do it with some panache, and we have done that in that we’re not hard-drive–based. This is SSD technology.”

Using solid-state–drive technology to bring in HD-SDI or SD-SDI, the MFP-100 offers simultaneous record/playback and highly stable output of digitally stored video and audio, even if problems occur from external content servers.

“This is a bridge to IT,” Chaffee says. “We have ultra-fast access because there are no moving parts. We’re supporting MXF, the DVCPRO family, and QuickTime. We can later on change the board, as we’re going to be addressing H.264 as well as MPEG, but the fact that we’ve got that multilayer chip, we can provide some flexibility with what we’re providing for those formats.”

The internal SSD multi-layer memory card has standard 128-GB storage but can be loaded in increments of 128 up to 512. The MFP-100 comes with one channel of HD-SDI/SD-SDI video input and two channels of output, 16 channels of audio, two RS-422 serial ports, four Ethernet connections, two FireWire connections, and dual hot-swappable power supplies.

“If I am fully loaded with the two decoders and one encoder, I can be bringing in and playing out with a five-second delay,” Chaffee says. “I can make the fourth output be an on-screen display, or all four clean out. And to be able to compact that in a 1RU is fairly impressive.”

In addition to the MFP-100, which will be available in July at $22,500 with a single decoder, IDX will launch a variable-speed unit, the MFV-100, at the end of the year.

“We’ve had some outstanding response to this so far,” Chaffee says. “It’s not going to compete with the big boys, and nor should it. But it’s very versatile, it’s got all of what you would need in terms of a server, but it is ultra fast. It is going to find a spot within an existing system and be quickly manipulated with the various media that are out there.”