Vienna, Austria – April 2017… More than a decade ago, ToolsOnAir introduced the world to a new generation of broadcast workflow. The debut of their “TV Station in a Mac” delivered the tools of professional video broadcast workflow – previously only available in costly, proprietary black-box systems – to the robust, affordable, and ubiquitous MacOS, signaling the emergence of a new breed of modern and agile video broadcaster.
Much has changed since then. As Apple has focused more on their consumer offerings, many broadcast pros have begun to embrace the power and open-source versatility of the Linux platform. ToolsOnAir has responded with two new core technologies: mediaCore, based on open-source, OS-independent frameworks replacing Quicktime, and onCore, a powerful and innovative Java-based component architecture designed from the ground up to deliver the ultimate in multi-function, multi-purpose broadcast and workflow automation. We spoke with ToolsOnAir founder and CEO Walter Kuntner about the company’s bold new direction.
What brought about the decision to begin moving to Linux?
When we first launched our Broadcast Suite ten years ago, the vast majority of video professionals were firmly entrenched in the Apple platform and Mac OS. The Mac computer was a production tool, designed and manufactured to meet the needs of these professionals.
Since then, the personal computer has become much more of a disposable commodity. As both Apple and Microsoft have become increasingly consumer-focused, professional users are increasingly marginalized, with each new operating system upgrade creating compatibility and functionality issues with existing hardware and software.
For our user base, the need to maintain consistency in our workflow is critical. For us, the computer is still a production tool. Working within the open source platforms most widely employed within Linux enables us to focus our technologies on the features that are important to our customers, rather than chasing after compatibility with the latest operating system updates.
What is the principle behind onCore?
We have created onCore as a component architecture, designed to provide the building blocks for creating customized products eqily. Because it’s based on Java, it enables us to develop enterprise-level products. The idea is to have modular building blocks that enable seamless integration and portability between different environments and workflows.
By approaching onCore as a modular platform, we can work with our partners to create custom, scalable solutions that can quickly adapt to changing needs and a wide range of usage scenarios.
What does the move to Linux mean for professionals who are deeply invested in the Mac platform?
With our new technologies, we are actually able to support those users even better than before. Our user interfaces will remain on the MacOS platform, since it’s still the best user experience, and the easiest to learn and work within. We call it a “beauty and the beast approach” – we can provide clients with an interface that offers the same MacOS front end and functionality, but with a new and more robust engine under the hood. We can ensure that our software is running on a system that will be stable for years to come, eliminating that “upgrade anxiety” so many professional Mac users face.
What’s next for ToolsOnAir?
At last year’s IBC Convention we introduced mediaCore onCore, and the response was exceptional. We’ve begun working on bringing our Broadcast Suite engines to Linux, and will be showing just:in Linux at this year’s NAB show in April. just:in can ingest two channels of 4K video (potentially more as we refine optimization) in a single rack unit.
In the coming months we will be bringing out a full suite of broadcast workflow tools-the kind of tools people have come to expect from TolsOnAir. Of course, all products will be fully optimized to run on premises or in the cloud. As we say, The Tools You Need to Be On Air.