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03.22.2004
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Snell & Wilcox offers free MXF SDK

Snell & Wilcox will release a comprehensive set of software developer tools -- called MXF Express – for free at NAB2004 (Booth #C6421).

The software developer’s kit is designed to help broadcasters and equipment vendors ensure interoperability among file-sharing products and systems through the Material eXchange Format (MXF) file format. The company said it would also make available a software-based MXF file player called MXF Desktop that allows any Windows PC desktop to recognize and read MXF data.

Snell & Wilcox engineers, along with those from Sony Electronics and others, played a key role in the standardization of MXF. As part of their work over several years, the company's engineers developed a package of software tools that help users create products that conform to the MXF specification. Those tools are included in the free releases of MXF Express and MXF Desktop.

Broadcasters such as CNN, CBS, BBC and Channel 4, have announced their use of MXF in their facilities. Most of the major broadcast technology vendors including Sony, Avid, Thomson, Pinnacle, JVC, Leitch, da Vinci, Matrox, Cisco, SGI, Quantel and SeaChange International have all announced support for the MXF format in their products.

MXF Express includes the following features:

  • Support for OP1a, OP-Atom, MPEG, DV, BWAV and AES profiles that allow various media configurations within a single MXF file

  • C++ libraries that enable developers to add MXF awareness to their products (including sample code for creating MXF writers/readers)

  • Directshow filters for easy MXF player/writer creation (including sample code)

  • High-quality sample MXF files for testing and evaluation (based on the Snell & Wilcox "Test Card M")

The contents of the MXF Express SDK were tested and proven internally by its engineers, who used it to create several file-based products with sophisticated MXF-based functionality. These include Ingest Station, a high-quality compression mastering system; Mosalina, an automated MPEG quality control software application; and MediaX, a powerful PCI-based hardware accelerator engine.

The MXF Desktop application enables Microsoft’s Windows Media Player to play MXF files; easy viewing of key metadata within an MXF file via the right click properties command in Windows Explorer; and WAV, MPEG and DV formats to be "wrapped" as essence into an MXF file.

Both MXF Express and MXF Desktop will be released April 19, the opening day of the NAB2004 convention. They will be available to qualified users for download from a new MXF resource Web site to be launched and supported by Snell & Wilcox. Users will be directed to the new site from a link on www.snellwilcox.com.

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