Change isn’t what it used to be – keep up

I like a good cliché. They are clichés for a very good reason and just a little of modern day wisdom. However, ‘change’ has been pondered for centuries with many theories from greats like Aristotle and Plato who argued the difference between accidental change and substantial change.

So what has this to do with broadcasting? And more important, what has this to do with Pixel Power?

Pixel Power was founded 30 years ago next month, as a software company designing cutting edge graphics for broadcast television. Being a software company in those days was tough because there simply wasn’t the compute power available off the shelf to deliver the sophistication expected by the broadcaster and deliverable by the likes of Pixel Power. So you had to build your own hardware simply to deliver enough power for the software.

Over the years, with one new idea after another, the race for more and more compute power seemed endless. Have a think about what it takes to create a squeezeback at the end of a programme, allowing the broadcaster to save valuable air time by promoting what’s next at the expense of the credit roller.

Innovation for Pixel Power has been at the heart of everything. The real importance, though, is that innovation creates real value for a broadcaster that adds to the bottom line. Which is why we are all here.

Today Pixel Power uses off the shelf hardware for broadcast automation, graphics, branding and playout. The very same software can be virtualized and located on your own servers (on-premise), in a data centre or in the public cloud.

Pixel Power is no longer a hardware company and no longer solely focused on graphics, although both are still available for the many clients who do not foresee their businesses changing for a few years yet. Pixel Power is a software company through and through, and now leading the way in true, realtime, virtualized broadcast playout.

What has all this got to do with change today? Well, Plato argued that real things don’t change and it’s only appearances that change. In one sense he’s right. Pixel Power has appeared to change in that its products are now all software-based. In reality, we have always been a software company.

Last week I spoke about how virtualized micro-services are at the point of enabling smaller broadcasters to compete on a more level playing field with bigger multichannel networks, when they didn’t have the financial clout before. On the other side of the fence are manufacturers that don’t have the baggage of heavy metal, who have always been software businesses from their inception and who have the agility and power to take the modern broadcaster to a new world of opportunity. They are already outmanoeuvring traditional hardware-based vendors.

Overall it’s the broadcasters who seize the opportunity of taking on this new world for their swift gain who will truly win in this business.

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