Imagine Says Bye To the ‘Black Box’

Charlie VogtCharlie Vogt

Anyone walking into the Imagine Communications booth at this year’s NAB Show looking for a dedicated hardware device will have to look pretty hard.

“The days of selling a black box to do a function really are beginning to go behind us,” said Charlie Vogt, Imagine’s chief executive officer.

Using standard IT hardware and network infrastructure, Imagine’s engineers have written software that enables the functions of the previously used black box hardware to be aped by IT hardware. To the end-using operators, the difference is transparent.

Imagine has been working with a number of companies on next-generation proof-of-concepts and over 100 field trials. One well- known client is Disney, which unveiled its plans to migrate traditional master control operations to IP and into a cloud virtualized state that was all software-defined at the 2015 NAB Show.

“A year later, we’ve got several of their traditional linear programs that are up and running on IP, that are virtualized and that are using all of our next-generation IP playout technology,” Vogt said. “We’re pretty excited about what’s occurred.”

Vogt pointed out, “There are all kinds of benefits that the industry gains once they move to an IP architecture, including the agility, flexibility and ability to turn up channels in days and hours, versus months and years. And there’s the long-term cost structure, the ability to add new content, incorporate lots of other technologies and applications in the total workflow. There are just a lot of benefits.” This includes the ability to simplify the deployment of TV Everywhere and other multichannel services, and monetize them with advanced advertising solutions.