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Scala Readies Major Software Upgrade

Last week at its Connected Signage Conference, digital signage software developer Scala demonstrated the next generation of its flagship platform.

Last week at its Connected Signage Conference, digital signage software developer Scala demonstrated the next generation of its flagship platform. Scala 6, which the company says will be shipping this summer, is a significant update that builds on the current Scala platform of Designer, Content Manager and Player, according to officials.

Release 6 adds support for standard H.264 and MPEG-2 streaming videos, in addition to its existing support for Windows Media Streaming protocols. The new feature will be especially useful for applications that require integration with IPTV streaming servers or live digital video cameras. Moreover, capture cards such as the Datapath RGB E-1 video capture card and the BlackMagic Intensity Pro video capture card will be supported in release 6 for capturing high-definition component video signals at 720p or 1080i, as well as unencrypted HDMI up to 1080p. This allows Scala to size and position a live, high-definition digital video signal from many popular set-top boxes from both cable and satellite providers with full overlay and multizone possibilities, company officials say.

In recent releases of Scala, the company has added support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and OS platforms such as Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, including the ability to run Scala Content Manager as a 64-bit Java application. In release 6, Scala has made it so network managers can integrate Content Manager with LDAP servers such as Microsoft's Active Directory server. An IT manager will therefore be able administer user lists and passwords for Content Manager through their existing enterprise tools.

The latest release will also give network operators more control over the bandwidth used by the digital signage network. Release 6 will let users specify various bandwidth rates over multiple time intervals within a day per player, Scala says.

Release 6 will also include new visual enhancements for content developed in Scala Designer. Users can add soft shadows and soft outline effects to text and media objects. They can also apply a color gradient, pattern, or image to the surface of text or to the shadow, outline, or backdrop of any object type. Users can also get artistic by creating text that looks like chrome, rough metal, rainbows, smoke, fire, and more.

In addition, a transparency gradient can be applied to all graphic elements, according to Scala. The shadow and outline effects will be available for various types of animated elements, including Adobe Flash, animation, streaming video and TV input. Combining these effects will produce graphics that jump off the screen and make the digital signage element created with Scala Designer stand out above the rest and engage audiences.

With the new release, Scala says it is introducing a new bridge server to support new non-PC players such as the SpinetiX Hyper Media Player. The SpinetiX players feature an ultra-small form factor and solid state, fanless design with many advanced features not common in typical appliance players.


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