Playout and Video Formats

Unlike many other solutions, we output the video via professional playout cards, and not only via the extended desktop. These playout cards, which can be connected via USB, Thunderbolt, or PCIe, deliver the signal in a format of your choice, be it SDI, HDMI, DVI, analog, or even via fiber optic.Playdeck has particularly advanced features for live use: The Block Timer keeps you up-to-date on the remaining runtime for the current clip as well as the entire block. Schedule Block conveniently supports you in keeping to your schedule and the Production Window makes all this information, including previewing the current output channels, available for your entire production crew.

The Studio version offers the possibility of recording an incoming video signal, to edit the recording while still recording directly in Playdeck (Edit-while-Ingest), and make the scenes created either available for immediate playback or for publishing directly from Playdeck on different social media channels.

Playdeck supports almost all popular video codecs. For example, you can use .mp4, .mov, .mpg, .mxf, .avi and .wmv containers with a variety of codecs. ProRes and HAP Codecs are also supported but cannot be decoded using GPU.

Yes, Playdeck not only supports the seamless playback of clips with different codecs, but you can also blend these clips together

Yes, you can add still images (.bmp, .png, .jpg, .tga, …) into the playlist.

Yes, you can either assign a previously defined standard display duration to each graphic or you can manually assign a different one. You can also specify that a graphic is displayed until a certain time or for an unlimited time. The graphic can also be faded in from the previous video clip or faded out into a subsequent clip.

All versions support 4K content playback. Please check in the run-up to your production whether your system can handle the associated CPU/GPU load safely, especially if you also want to run Edit-while-Ingest with the Studio version.

This depends on the video settings you have selected: If you have selected the playlist and video output format, for example, 1080/50i, then Playdeck will output the fields correctly. If you have selected a progressive format for the output, for example, 1080/50p, then Playdeck de-interlaces when required.

For best results with low CPU load, we recommend that you do not unnecessarily convert a clip and that you make sure that all the clips in the playlist match both the resolution and the frame rate with the selected output settings.

From the Plus version onwards, you can freely choose which graphic or video to show as a loop when no clip playback is in progress. For best results, please make sure that the background video is loopable so that no jump is detected between the transition of the end and re-beginning of it.

Yes, you can. The audio also fades in and out, respectively.

Advanced Playback Functions

Our top priority in the development of PLAYDECK was and is highest operational safety. Of course, this also applies to the reliability of the software itself. In addition, we also want to make it easier for the operator to use in often stressful live situations by making all functions that are not usually needed during the show available through quickly accessible context menus (right-clicking).

You can export a clip list directly from PLAYDECK. This contains not only the file names, but also the individual and total playing time, as well as the paths under which the clips are stored on your system.

You can manually tag each clip with a different playback volume. The use of the audio loudness normalization function (from version Plus onwards) is especially convenient: When selected, the volume is automatically adjusted to the same perceived loudness.

Not at all! The files remain in their original state. In and out points are just references to the clip. The audio normalization function changes the output volume in real time, but not the original clip volume.

Yes, it is. You can open and play a clip in a preview window at any time by right-clicking on an entry in the playlist.

With PLAYDECK you have the option to export a block from the playlist to a video file. You can receive a reformatted clip if you set the desired file type in the export settings and create a block containing only one clip.

The Action Buttons let you start playing video clips instantly, regardless of whether another clip is playing or not. In Preferences, you can choose what happens to an action clip when playback is stopped: Pause on the last frame, play the interrupted clip from the interruption or from the beginning, or play the clip that follows the interrupted clip in the playlist.

With the Overlay Buttons you can place full-screen graphics or graphics with alpha channel/ transparency over the video output at the touch of a button. You can freely adjust the size, transparency, position, and fade times. Playdeck allows both the insertion of a permanent station ID/logo and the fade in of superimposed text.

PLAYDECK offers the Jump function in all of its versions with freely adjustable jump time. Clarify the preferred remaining time with your client and with one click PLAYDECK jumps to the right position and continues playback there seamlessly.

Workflow and Integration

On the GUI, you will find a Clip Timer that shows you either the elapsed time or the remaining playing time of the currently broadcasted clip, and a Block Timer, which shows you the remaining playing time of the currently playing block.

The Block Timer always shows the remaining play time. Of course, if you’ve tagged clips with in and out points then only the remaining clip duration will be considered.

If you uncheck the green check mark next to a clip to skip the clip during playback the Block Timer will immediately update the remaining play time.

The Schedule Block function offers you on the one hand the possibility to keep track of the progress of your show. On the other hand, you can also use this function to run a real TV automation:
For each block you enter the scheduled start time and get a clearly visible countdown on the user interface. If desired, PLAYDECK will automatically start playback when the start time is reached.

You can set the options so that the start time of the following block is corrected accordingly in case of a delayed start or any other deviation from the planned procedure. This way, the timing of your playlist always adapts to the actual process.

With the Production Window you allow the other members of your crew to stay up-to-date with the playlist. In addition to the current time, the Production Window shows the currently output video signal of the two playlist channels, the remaining time of the current clip and the current block, as well as a list of the next clips. If you use the Schedule Block function, the associated countdown is also displayed on the Production Window. Compare the amount of crew communication that happens with and without the Production Window. You will be amazed!

For both situations, Playdeck shows a clear countdown on both the user interface and the Production Window. In addition, in the settings you can also choose whether you want an audible notification. You can choose how far in advance you wish to be notified.

For this use, you can choose to display the SYNC button between the two control consoles in the upper area (Cockpit) (via All Settings/Workflow/Appearance). After activating this button, you control both playlists via one of the two consoles. Since this is a feature with broad possibilities of accidental operational errors, an active SYNC function is clearly signaled in the Cockpit. Please note that the playback from both channels is not always absolutely frame accurate.

Hardware

Playdeck software runs on Windows 10. MAC OS is not supported.

Unfortunately, there is no “one” hardware configuration that is the right one for all situations.
The requirements depend on many different factors:
Output resolution, frame rate, number of playout channels, codec used, additional functions activated (up/down/cross conversion, area-of-interest, production window, streaming outputs, …), output of alpha key and fill signals, etc.
In any case, from version 3.4 onwards, it is important to have a fast graphics card, e.g. an Nvidia GeForce RTX 20XX or RTX 30XX, installed in the system, because since this version we have been running all rendering and scaling processes on the GPU.
Stuttering playback or audio dropouts are always a sure sign of system overload.
Before purchasing a licence, please test with the free trial version whether your system is sufficiently dimensioned for your requirements.

Yes, with Playdeck you can play H.264 and H.265 (HEVC) encoded .mp4 files or .mpeg2 files with the support of your GPU in a very processor-friendly way. This requires your graphics card to have either NVIDIA’s NVENC or Intel’s Quick Sync feature.

Being a professional playout solution, Playdeck best works with professional Playout Cards. The quality and performance of our video engine is so high that the high quality signal output to a professional playout card is possible without additional CPU load. Simply select the appropriate playout card for your needs. Supported Cards are: Blackmagic, AJA, Deltacast, bluefish444, DekTec, Magewell, StreamLabs.

Yes. In addition to professional Playout cards, Playdeck also supports the extended desktop for simple and quick output solutions.

To access an external playout card from a laptop, you have several options: You can select a USB output card, e.g. Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle, or you can use a Thunderbolt connection to either plug in a playout card directly or use an external PCIe shell to install standard PCIe playout cards. Or you simply use the extended Desktop via HDMI output.

You can assign your own keyboard shortcuts to most Playdeck functions, creating your own personal shortcut set. You can then transfer this shortcut set from one system to another.

Licenses

The trial version is the Studio version, so you can test all the features of Playdeck extensively and indefinitely. For example, you can create playlists, edit clips, set transitions, and set up the Schedule Block feature. You can even see external playout cards and the outgoing video signal. The only restriction: you are not allowed to use Playdeck for live use. For this reason, all incoming and outgoing video signals are watermarked.

After purchasing a license for the first time, you will receive your access data to your user account by e-mail. Please check your spam folder if necessary.
With these data you can select the License Manager under the menu item “Help” and log into your online license account. Select your desired license here and activate it on your system using the “Checkout” button.

PLAYDECK supports two additional license models in addition to the online licenses.
With the “Offline License” the license is permanently linked to a specific computer. This is particularly advantageous if you want to run PLAYDECK always on the same system and do not have access to the Internet.
The “Dongle License” consists of a USB dongle on which the corresponding license information is stored. This variant is particularly suitable if you want to run PLAYDECK on different systems and you do not always have reliable access to the Internet to use the online license manager.
Both variants are available for the annual licenses of the Plus and Studio versions. Please contact support@playdeck.tv for further information.

In this case please write an e-mail to support@playdeck.tv. We will reset the license for you. Immediately afterwards you can use the license again.

You can switch between your current license and the demo license at any time. Simply go to the License Manager, select the demo license under Local Licenses, and click on Activate License. Now you can test all the features of the Studio version.

Oh god, no! Playdeck will never, never, never perform an online validation of a license at each startup. You only need an online connection to your license pool if you want to release your local license for use on another system and check it back into the pool, or if you want to check out a license from your pool to your production system. In addition, a login to renew the license is required at generous intervals.

Not only can you limit access to the online license pool with login credentials, but you can also limit access to the local License Manager.

Definitely! Because what is called Pro Plus in other playback solutions is already standard in the Playdeck Lite version: Crossfades, clean cuts or other mixer functions between clips, inclusion of still images with freely selectable display duration, or a freeze on the last frame are examples.And the video engine is of exactly the same high quality as the fuller versions.