March 19, 2013
Current MPlatform release (18.104.22.168) is full of great features, but before we talk about them, here's some notable information.
MPlatform product structure & licensing terms
We are very well aware that confusing product structures are a pain for the customer. When working on the marketing side of MPlatform, our main goal was to make it easy to understand. It was especially important as we had to arrange migrations for dozens of users with licenses for at least 6 different packages.
Several decisions were made based on that:
1) We decided to include vision mixing into the main MPlatform package. This really simplified migrations for customers who had both playout automation and vision mixing products from the previous generation. For new customers it makes the purchase decision easier.
2) Time shifting has also been included into the default package. At first, we thought that it would make sense to have it available with the optional encoding package only, but we found out that for certain customers this could be a serious limitation as sometimes they want to use third-party encoding solutions.
3) The Single Application license has been removed: it doesn't exist any more inside the MPlatform ecosystem. It is either Single Developer or Team.
We are happy to have made these decisions: there's less ping-pong with the customer about what he needs and how it should be licensed. The sales process has become smoother.
Optional components (libs & plugins) and the IMPlugins interface
We had to change the names of our decoding and encoding FFmpeg-based packages. The initial name was very similar to MEncoder, a free command line tool that shares its code base with MPlayer. The new names for these packages are Decoder Lib and Encoder Lib. Sorry about the confusion.
The term lib may not perfectly reflect the deliverables inside these products, but it does the job. We decided to use it for all future add-ons that somehow expand or improve MPlatform or any part it. For example, the Closed Captions Lib is an optional component that adds support for EIA-608, CEA-708 CC playback and output via composite or SDI connection in NTSC. More features can be added to this lib upon request.
Another type of add-ons are plugins. Technically, even the CG feature (available as part of the default MPlatform package) is a plugin. The optional plugins are CG Flash and Chroma Key.
Plugins are different, because they make use of the IMPlugins interface, which can also be used by you to create your own plugins. This is especially good for custom audio/video effects and video analysis use cases: if you have a code that works with a raw stream the way you need, you won't find it difficult to wrap it up into a plugin for MPlatform.
A quick list of the most important features that have been made available since the last blog post:
- Vision mixing (available since versionВ 22.214.171.124) with support for transitions and a visual scene editor.
- Encoder Lib (available since versionВ 126.96.36.199), our FFmpeg-based encoding solution.
- MDelay component for broadcast delay and time shifting.
- Playback-while-recording (growing files playback) feature. Requires both Decoder Lib and Encoder Lib.
- New Direct3D approach for preview with better image quality, performance and optional deinterlacing.
- Windows Media Streaming engine for HTTP streaming and WMV capture.*
- RTMP streaming to FMLE and Windows Media Services.*
- Improved performance and 24/7 operation in external process mode.*
- Capture support for files with multiple audio tracks.*
(*) Encoder Lib required.
More features are mentioned here
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October 11, 2012
The MPlatform Red Carpet Program is designed to help early customers achieve their goals with the product and provide us with valuable feedback along the way. The program is called this way because our goal is to provide red carpet treatment to those who enroll.
- Get free or discounted migration licenses (available to customers with valid Broadcast Automation Platform, Live Chroma Key, Vision Mixer SDK, Virtual Studio SDK, Decoder Pack and Capture Pack subscriptions).
- Hold monthly conversations with our engineers via Skype to discuss support tickets and requirements. Will be provided within the first subscription term of the MPlatform license. Available in English only.
- Take part in the formation of the product's roadmap and feature set.
- Get early access to new releases and documentation.
- A valid subscription for each of the products that you wish to receive a free or discounted migration license for. Eligible products are: Broadcast Automation Platform (all editions), Live Chroma Key, Vision Mixer SDK, Virtual Studio SDK, Decoder Pack, Capture Pack. Customers, who currently have an expired subscription, need to renew it before applying for the program.
- Provide feedback based on real testing, development or deployment of MPlatform and related products.
- Provide a written statement about MPlatform upon the successful launch or deployment of your application and allow us to publish it on our web site.
- Fill out the MPlatform Customer Survey before November 30th, 2012. The link to the survey will be made available via email.
If you are not an existing licensee for any of the products we mentioned above, you can still enroll in the Red Carpet Program. Of course, the migration benefit will not apply in this case: you will need to license MPlatform in order to enroll in the program.
October 7, 2012
MPlatform, our new multimedia architecture, is designed to eventually replace almost half of our product line. We plan to release MPlatform according to the following roadmap.
The first release (expected before the end of October) will include most features of Broadcast Automation Pack (including of course integration with Blackmagic devices), except for time shifting, transitions and file capture. It will have new playlist and scheduling implementations, a .Net controls library for faster GUI development and closed captions support (NTSC in this version only).
The first release will be 32-bit only and will be shipped with the current version of our Character Generator.
With the first release of MPlatform we also plan to release MDecoders, our replacement for the no longer available Decoder Pack. MDecoders will be based on an LGPL build of FFmpeg and will handle media playback (including reverse & variable speed playback) and network stream receipt (such as RTMP).
MDecoders will not support MXF, because our own solution offers a better and fuller support for MXF. See MXF Reader Pack.
The following releases of MPlatform will be focused on implementing the remainder of the existing Broadcast Automation Platform's features, adding video mixing, integrating I/O with Stream Labs andВ AJA. Also, one of our goals for this year is to upgrade CG to 64 bits. MEncoders, our FFmpeg-based package for file capture, should also become available before the end of the year. By mid-December we expect to have a product that completely replaces all Broadcast Automation Platform editions and Vision Mixer SDK (except for geometric transforms).
Our next step would be releasing MComposer, our new GPU-powered graphics generation & video mixing engine. Chroma keying will also be part of the MComposer package. Together, MPlatfrom and MComposer will completely replace Broadcast Automation Platform and Virtual Studio SDK.
Estimated release dates
- MPlatform (first release) - end of October - first days of November, 2012
- MPlatform (second release) - mid-December, 2012
- MComposer - Q1 2013
These dates may be adjusted along the way.