MasonIP for DVD Verification & Playback

MasonIP for DVD Verification & Playback
MasonIP for DVD Verification & Playback
by Mark Bain - 2/26/07
Since it’s introduction, the MasonIP has created a large number of questions about
what it is and how it works. This paper will try to answer some of these questions and
will detail out how the MasonIP fits into a post production or authoring environment.
What is the MasonIP?
MasonIP is special type of DVD player. Think of MasonIP as a stand alone DVD player
without a DVD drive. In place of the DVD drive, put in a network connection, and you
have a good description of MasonIP.
So without a DVD drive, how does MasonIP play a DVD?
Since MasonIP has a network connection, MasonIP looks at servers on the network
and locates and plays any valid DVD structure on any available server. By using the
MasonIP remote control, you can navigate to DVD’s on the servers and play them
exactly like they were burned DVD disks inside a DVD player.
A Different Approach to DVD verification
When you are authoring a DVD, let’s say with DVD Studio Pro, many times during the
process you need to verify your menu’s and overlays and other graphical or video bits.
Up to this point, there were only two ways to verify your work:
1) you can use the DVD Studio Pro software based DVD player simulator.
2) you can burn a DVD-R and put that in a stand alone DVD player and see how it
The problem with #1 is that as good as DVDSP’s simulator works, you are still using
a computer to playback the images. The screen is small and progressive scan only.
The color gamut is not the same as video. And you can’t output it to a reference video
monitor for accurate representation.
The problem with #2 is the time involved in burning a check DVD. You just have to sit
and wait for the burn to complete. Then you have to manually put it into the stand
alone DVD player and test. Another problem is the waste of tossing burned DVD-R
disks for simple tests. On some large projects, this can be substantial.
MasonIP solves both problems with a new approach to DVD testing. Instead of trying
to cram a DVD simulator into a computer, we put a computer inside a stand alone
DVD player. This gives us the best of both worlds. We get full DVD playback and
output because we are a stand alone reference DVD player. We have full DVD
functions and a complete range of DVD video outputs, including additional broadcast
ready outputs. And because we have a fully embedded computer inside, we have all
the networking and computer functions available to us as well. This allows MasonIP
to connect, via a network, directly to computers and servers for DVD testing. And
MasonIP is not tied to a single server or computer either. By just navigating to other
computers or servers with the remote control, you can test all the DVD images
available on the network. This lets you quickly test different versions for comparisons
or to see how your project is moving along. Or you can easily just pop up different
versions for clients to compare.
How does MasonIP know where to look for the DVD’s?
When you configure MasonIP, you enter in a list of servers that have DVD material
on them. Not only servers, but even regular computer systems, like your authoring
computer, can be listed here. Then with the MasonIP remote control, you can easily
navigate through the servers and file lists to find the DVD’s you want to test.
How difficult is it to setup all the network settings for MasonIP?
MasonIP uses Ethernet for it’s network connection and it can work in a variety of
environments. MasonIP supports Static IP numbers along with DHCP. The network
settings are all programmed by the remote control. We include easy networking
instructions, and anyone that has configured a router or other network device will
find the MasonIP setup a breeze.
Better to teach the Video people new tricks
MasonIP is a bridge between the Video/DVD world and the Networking IT world. We
here at Wired have been deeply involved in the video compression and DVD authoring
world since 1991... Before DVD’s were even created. We have seen many changes,
but nothing is as significant as the introduction of data networking to the business
environment. Networking is not just something to browse the Internet with. Data
networking is the most fundamental shift that has occurred in our lifetime.
There are two choices to bridge the gap between Video/DVD people and network IT
people. You can teach the IT people video specifics, or you can teach the video
people IT knowledge. We prefer the latter. We think video people are pretty smart and
can easily learn data networking. So wake up video people, you are going to learn all
about TCP/IP and Ethernet.
Is a network connection fast enough to play DVD’s over? In other words, can you
really play DVD’s over a network connection?
Absolutely. Almost all networks today are Fast Ethernet, or 100baseT, networks.
These networks are much faster than that required to play a DVD over. As you know,
DVD’s are around 10mb/s maximum. Fast Ethernet is 100mb/s max. But even on a
busy network, getting 10mb/s throughput should not be a problem.
What if I don’t have a server that stores our DVD projects.
Well actually the computer you used to author the DVD probably has built-in file
sharing as a standard function. And that’s all you need to allow MasonIP to see your
DVD project files. In other words, by turning on your authoring computer’s file
sharing function, MasonIP can see and play the saved DVD’s on your computer’s hard
drive. That way no separate data server would be required.
MasonIP plays your DVD’s anywhere
If you already have central data servers to store your DVD projects onto, then with
MasonIP you can just navigate through the server files with the hand-held remote. It’s
that easy. Even multiple servers can be listed on MasonIP and again with the remote
you can just surf to the server you want and navigate through to the file you want.
If you are like most small shops, you probably keep your DVD projects on the local
hard drive or some firewire drives. You can still easily use MasonIP to playback those
files as well. By turning on file sharing on your computer, MasonIP can see the drives
and easily navigate to the desired location for playback.
Of course one thing that MasonIP will definitely do, is it will push you to get all your
DVD projects organized onto centralized locations. Actually, MasonIP doesn’t care
where your files are located, but once you start searching for all your DVD projects,
you will have this burning desire to put them all onto easily backed up drives in some
central location.
During the MasonIP development, we put in several terabyte servers (the Wired
TeraSpool) for DVD storage and it worked out beautifully. Now all our DVD projects
are on one server, easily accessed by everyone in the company, and easily backed
up. And it free’d up massive amounts of hard disk room on our local computer
systems. Now all our video and DVD projects are stored directly on the server and not
on our local hard drives.
How do you configure the MasonIP?
MasonIP has a built-in web server for configurations. You just point any browser
on any computer system to the IP number of the MasonIP box, and up comes a
configuration page. There you can program a large variety of settings, including
your list of servers, and your DVD player output monitor settings.
What connections are on MasonIP?
MasonIP has the full range of stand alone DVD player outputs, along with some
additional broadcast ready outputs. Composite BNC, S-Video, Component BNC’s, DVID, are the video outputs. Analog RCA’s, S/P DIF RCA, Toslink optical, AES/EBU, are
the audio outputs. And a Fast Ethernet jack is your network connection.
MasonIP fits right in
Because MasonIP is essentially a stand alone DVD player, it connects up just like any
other DVD player. Use the video outputs to drive your reference video monitor or other
video equipment. Connect the audio outputs to your amp or Dolby decoder. The only
additional connectors you will find are the Ethernet connector and USB ports.
Almost all the output connectors are locking type, essential for the broadcast
environment. MasonIP comes in a 19” rack mountable all metal chassis, with an IEC
AC power input connector located on the back. MasonIP is designed for continuous
24/7 operation, with no external power bricks or wall supplies used.
Learn your networking
Being video people, the biggest challenge in this new environment is going to be to
learn how to connect up networking equipment. If your company has an IT
department, they will find MasonIP easy to install. If you are your companies IT
department, then we have easy step by step instructions on how to get it installed and
In addition, Wired will be releasing several networking white papers that should make
your installation a lot easier to complete. But if you have already installed something
like a wireless router on your network, then you have essentially done exactly what it
takes to install MasonIP.
Typical setups for MasonIP
Figure 1 details out a typical DVD authoring setup. Once you are ready to test an
authored DVD image on the hard drive, either on an external server or on the
computer’s internal drive, you just pick up the MasonIP wireless remote, navigate to
the DVD image, and hit Play. The DVD starts playing just like a burned DVD check
disk. And with the DVD remote, you can test all the remote functions for your DVD, like
navigation and menu controls.
DATA SERVERS (optional)
Figure 1 - This is a typical DVD workstation setup with MasonIP installed. The data
servers are optional. The DVD video comes out of MasonIP onto the video reference
monitors and you can use the wireless remote control to test all DVD functions, just
like a stand alone DVD player.
Now notice that the only connection between the MasonIP and the DVD authoring
computer is the network cable. That means you can have the MasonIP located
anywhere on the company network. Even in a DVD demo room or test lab. You can
even add additional MasonIP’s and have them all access the same DVD images from
different locations. All you need is a network connection.
MasonIP opens up new possibilities for DVD testing and verification. By utlizing the
power of the data network, it bridges the gap between the Video world and the
networking world. No longer do you need to shuttle around test DVD disks for
everyone on the project. Just have them navigate directly to your project folder and
they can play your DVD’s on their own system. No disks. No burning. No waiting.
• All Mason products are designed for continuous 24/7 use.
• 19” 1U rack mountable all metal enclosure.
• No switching power supplies used anywhere, to prevent conducted and induced
noise and interference.
• No external or wall mounted power supplies. Direct AC power input with IEC cord.
• Ten separate linear power supplies used throughout for the ultimate in clean
signals. All digital and analog sections powered separately.
• All analog signal paths contain no noisy semiconductor switches. Only highfrequency, high-isolation relays used to route analog signal paths.
• All analog discrete parts are through-hole high-precision components.
• All analog power cleaned up with precision tantalumn capacitors.
• Component video outputs are buffered with 1GHz video drivers, for clean precise
video signals, even over long cable runs.
• Analog audio output utilizes advanced ultra low-noise buffers, for clear noise-free
sound output.
Back Panel:
Composite Video - BNC x 1
S-Video - MiniDin x 1
Component Video - BNC x 3
Digital Video - DVI-D
Analog Audio - RCA x 2
S/P DIF - RCA x 1
Optical - Toslink x 1
100Base-T (Fast Ethernet) - RJ45 x 1
USB - Type A Receptacle x 2
Remote IR - 3.5mm Jack x 1
AC Power - IEC x 1
Front Panel:
Remote IR receiver window
Format Information:
NTSC/PAL (480i)
2-channel consumer line-level
2-channel PCM
AC-3 Dolby Digital
Support for Static IP and DHCP
All MasonIP configurations programmed via a web browser (HTTP) on port 80.
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