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05.05.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
MXF freight train leaves station, news production jumping aboard

At NAB2004, the Material eXchange Format (MXF) made its presence felt throughout the show floor with broad industry acceptance of the interchange file format as well as through the Professional MPEG Forum’s touting of the successful SMPTE standardization of MXF.

MXF is a key enabler for the introduction and accelerated use of AV/IT technology in broadcasting. Its acceptance as a SMPTE standard means manufacturers will have access to an open file format that will facilitate improved sharing of material between systems and improve user workflow.

“When we embarked on this project four years ago, there was no guarantee of success," said Nick Wells of the BBC, Pro-MPEG Forum chairman. "The amount of co-operation and the level of expertise required to create the MXF format was daunting. However, under the guidance of major broadcasters worldwide the panel of specialists did a remarkable job in developing, testing and then documenting a format that responded fully to the user requirements.”

The MXF file format allows seamless exchange of video, audio and metadata between equipment in the production and distribution environments. It is a major new building block offering:

  • Platform independence including compression, network protocol and OS;

  • Extensive support for metadata and improved workflow;

  • Packetized and streaming file-based capability;

  • An open industry format with support from all manufacturers;

  • Interoperability tested between manufacturers;

  • Extensible for future source formats and metadata schemes.

Commenting on the demand for a means to control a variety of equipment in a broadcast or post environment and the role of MXF, Roderick Snell, chairman of Snell & Wilcox, said: “We started to introduce network control of our modular products many years ago and that thinking led our customers to ask us for even greater, wider data paths.

“And as soon as we looked for formats and a means of international agreement that led us naturally to support the work on MXF standards.”

For more information, please visit: www.pro-mpeg.org.

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