News and Live Production Tools

ASTRA News is designed to manage the dynamic events that make the news control room stressful and prone to operator errors.  With tight integration to a NRCS, last second changes can easily be made to the rundown which are instantly reflected in the ASTRA News playlist. Graphics and crawls can be integrated in playout. Stories can be rearranged with a simple drag-and drop-operation.  ASTRA News can also be used for live events or simple playout without an NRCS system.


The news control room is sometimes defined as controlled chaos with complex graphics, unpredictable events and last minute changes.  ASTRA News provides directors and operators tools to produce complex shows with detailed graphics while at the same time enabling last minute changes. With ASTRA News, on-air mistakes are greatly reduced as more of the broadcast can be automated, making dynamic events easier to control.

Key Features

  • MOS Interfaces to all major NRCS systems
  • Support up to four channels for playout, A/B roll, rear projection and graphics
  • ActiveX Plug-ins for ENPS, Octopus, OpenMedia, iNEWS and others
  • Support for XDCAM and other high-res and low-res files with metadata
  • Programmable 32 & 64 button multi-color control panels
  • Various redundancy options from full mirroring to “N+1” models
  • Expansion, upgrades, repairs possible while still on-line with “Hot Swappable” modules
  • Comprehensive device library
  • Built on a robust Real-Time OS used for military/medical/avionics applications

NRCS Interface

ASTRA News interfaces with most NRCS systems in use today via a MOS gateway.  Typically the NRCS system manages the stories and rundowns and updates ASTRA.  ASTRA manages the database of assets and updates the NRCS database.  When playing, ASTRA sends real-time status back to the NRCS system.  This tight integration with the NRCS system enables last minute changes to be made either directly in ASTRA News or in the NRCS system.

To further simplify operations, an ActiveX plugin enables NRCS users to see assets in the ASTRA database from within the NRCS user interface.


When a news director puts together a rundown, seldom are all the videos for the stories ready.  To manage this, placeholders are used that contain the story name, durations and other metadata.

This placeholder shows up in the ASTRA News system with a red flag indicating video is missing.  ASTRA will search the storage systems (NAS/SAN) and when the clip is ready, ASTRA detects it, moves it to the video server, matches it with the relevant placeholder and changes the status to ready.

ActiveX Plugins

ActiveX plugins provide the NRCS operator with a view into the ASTRA asset database without changing windows.  This lets the user quickly make decisions based on information in ASTRA.

ActiveX plug-in for ENPS

News Playout

A news broadcast is dynamic requiring the newsroom operator to manually trigger events and control multiple video sources.  The ASTRA News control panel can control up to four sources for single channel playout, A/B roll, rear projection and graphics.

NLE Integration

Placeholder information can be directly loaded into the NLE so when the clip being edited, it has the name of the file expected in the news rundown.

Live Events

ASTRA News is not just for news but can be used for any live event, studio production or for a manual newscast without a newsroom computer system.

Control Panels

ASTRA Control Panels can be automatically programmed from the rundown.  Keys will change color and text will change based on what options the operator has at that point in the rundown.

These context sensitive keys reduce the chance for errors and provide the operator flexibility in making changes “on-the-fly.”

News Control Panel

Standard Control panel

32 Button Programmable Panel 

XDCAM Support

Sony's XDCAMs reduce the time needed to get a story into the system for editing and playout.

ASTRA Ingest takes advantage of these new cameras with a custom screen for users to identify what clips to ingest along with the associated metadata and, optionally, the low-res proxies.  Custom metadata can also be entered at this time.

Playout Workflows

Tight integration with ASTRA MCR enables smooth transitions between master control and the news control room for commercial breaks.

Automatic ingest and replay/re-use of stories is especially helpful in 24 hour news channels. ASTRA News giving you the ability to automatically ingest and replay stories, update stories throughout the day and handle late breaking news.



ASTRA XDCAM Ingest Screen





24/7/365 Redundancy

Mistakes in master control are expensive.  ASTRA is unique in its core design.  Built on a powerful Real-Time Operating System (RTOS), it is not impacted by viruses that threaten most PC-based systems.  Hardware and software module failures can be protected with complete mirroring.  An “N+1” model offers a cost-effective playout solution that in most scenarios provides seamless failover.

Hot Swappable Software Modules

ASTRA can be easily upgraded, repaired or new capabilities added quickly and transparently with its design around Hot Swappable modules.  These modules or applications are separate from the operating system so the system continues to run while new modules are added.