Categories IP Broadcast Solutions

As the media world migrates towards IP connectivity and remote production and delivery over the public internet, there is a pressing need for technically uncompromised, flexible, low latency, standards based tools which can be used to create multiple workflows as required.

The SOAR-A platform from FOR-A is revolutionary approach to this demand. SOAR-A is an agile appliance delivering ultra-low latency, agile, standards-based streaming to any device over any combination of circuits. Remote production and long-distance delivery rely on the ability to transfer media content and associated data from to one or multiple locations. The very nature of the media world means that every application requires a different set of functionality and circuits to different devices. Rather than assemble a large number of different devices to address each application, FOR-A has developed a standardised, agile platform, SOAR-A (Software Optimised Appliance Revolutionised by FOR-A).

This is the company’s first major step into the IP world, but by seeing how previous offerings by other vendors have revealed shortcomings, FOR-A has been able to develop a platform that really meets the practical, everyday requirements of the industry. As the name implies, SOAR-A is an agile software platform, capable of adapting to requirements by simply loading the appropriate software. There are two hardware options: a two-channel device in a compact cabinet, and the standard 1U appliance which supports up to 16 channels. Devices can be linked to provide even greater capacities. Whatever the configuration, latency is always extremely low, making it ideal for remote live production as well as content distribution.

Critical to the design is the support of widely recognised open standards, including SMPTE ST2110 and NDI. RIST (Reliable Internet Stream Transport) ensures multiple video, audio and data streams can be bundled together bi-directionally with a simple set-up. Through the use of WebRTC, video streams can be sent to any device anywhere, without the need for a specialist player. It also allows streams to be sent to multiple destinations, and SOAR-A IPTV is a content distribution system in a box. Alongside IPTV, applications already available include SOAR-A Edge, which provides for highly secure IP transport; SOAR-A Graphics, a character generator and branding engine; SOAR-A Switch, a software switcher; and SOAR-A Play, a media server. SOAR-A is a transformational approach to the whole content delivery ecosystem, and is ready to unlock new efficiencies in live production, at up to 4k Ultra HD. Building on a software-defined architecture, it is also the perfect solution for a cost-effective migration from SDI to media over IP. The benefit of a highly configurable platform is that new functionality can be added in software, adding functionality as it is needed without additional hardware investment. In the transition phase that includes hybrid IP and SDI (including 12G) workflows. SOAR-A is capable of handling multiple video, audio and data streams, using industry standards including SDI, NDI and SMPTE ST2110, using WebRTC, RIST, WebM, HLS/Dash and more. The use of WebRTC means that signals can be distributed to any device from a smart TV to a phone, with ultra-low latency.

The power of RIST ensures point to point and point to multipoint streaming, including bonding and load balancing for faster connections across multiple bearers. Security is baked in, through PSK (pre-shared key), plus SRP (secure remote password) and DTLS (datagram transport layer security). One-stop simplicity is yet further enhanced with the ability to apply a simple and flexible VPN to connect multiple sites. It is simple to set up, flexible in operation, highly secure, readily integrated and very fast indeed. It truly is a revolutionary solution.