Harmonic Enhances Polaris Playout Management Suite

Harmonic presented its new Polaris Play channel-in-a-box (CIAB) automation software for the company’s Polaris playout management suite. Integrated with Harmonic’s Spectrum media server system, Polaris Play blends a rich set of automated ingest, media preparation, and playout workflow capabilities that enable management of up to four SD or HD channels, each with matched simulcast channels, in one rack unit.

Harmonic“Designed specifically for broadcasters with modest playout requirements and budgets, Polaris Play gives users a breadth of control capabilities that enable straightforward management of the critical elements that support an on-air channel,” said Tom Lattie, vice president, product management at Harmonic. “Users can leverage Polaris Play to drive a cost-effective CIAB model for their playout channels.”

Polaris Play provides a suite of master control room (MCR) tools that enable ingest, content preparation, segmentation, preview, and channel playlist control. Scheduled operations can be driven by traffic or by manually created playlists. Coupled with the Spectrum MediaDeck™ integrated media server and its high-density I/O capabilities, integrated file services, and native codec and file wrapper support, Polaris Play simplifies deployment and operation of the playout workflow.

The Polaris suite represents Harmonic’s evolving offering in the emerging Media Orchestration category, which is important as workflows consolidate and simplify. Within this suite, Polaris Play offers broadcasters a robust, yet attractively priced, CIAB solution powered by the industry’s most trusted server platform, enabling users to reduce both capital and operating expenses.

Polaris Play can be combined with the recently announced Harmonic Polaris Live manual device control application, enabling the Spectrum ChannelPort™ integrated channel playout system to fulfill both production and master control requirements for many live-to-air workflows. The resulting hybrid environment offers powerful and highly efficient integrated master control room (iMCR) capabilities, allowing users to switch between scheduled playout and manual playout of live events based on the schedule or on an ad hoc basis.

“The iMCR model can be a game-changer in that it enables users to drive graphics-intensive live-to-air workflows,” said Lattie. “Together, Polaris Play and Polaris Live offer the benefits of CIAB solutions — reduced equipment costs and workflow complexity — while providing the power and flexibility critical within the most demanding production environments.”

In addition to reducing hardware costs, the iMCR model supports highly flexible and efficient workflows that users can customize with Polaris Live’s simple touch-screen interface.

Polaris Play will be available in the first quarter of 2015.