At the 2012 NAB Show in booth SL9007, Softron Media Services ( will demonstrate four-channel HD-SDI output on a Mac mini desktop using Sonnet’s ( xMac mini Server and Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink Quad video card, and running Softron’s OnTheAir Node playout software.

“OnTheAir Node is the best way to output multiple channels of video on a Mac, but until now the only way to deliver multiple channels was to use a Mac Pro — and a major drawback to the Mac Pro is the large amount of space it occupies in a machine room rack,” says Pierre Chevalier, technical director for Softron Media Services. “With Sonnet’s xMac mini Server, we can now output up to four channels of HD-SDI video using a Mac mini, a space-saving and cost-effective option. The xMac mini Server, coupled with our software, is an ideal solution for any broadcaster looking for two-channel redundancy, A/B roll output, or four different channels of HD-SDI video, depending on the configuration.”

Sonnet’s xMac mini Server is a 1U rackmount for the Mac mini that adds PCIe expansion via Thunderbolt technology. The xMac mini Server mounts a Mac mini inside a specially designed enclosure that also contains two x4 mode PCIe 2.0 slots and a 100W power supply. This system enables users to plug two PCIe adapter cards (one half-length and one full-length) into slots connected to the Mac mini through a Thunderbolt cable while also providing a second port for the daisy-chain connection of additional Thunderbolt peripherals.

Together, the OnTheAir Node with OnTheAir Manager comprise the centerpiece of Softron’s client/server OnTheAir Suite, enabling users to manage multiple schedules for multiple TV channel outputs from any computer on a network. OnTheAir Node is an output server that runs on the Mac using video cards or devices such as the DeckLink Quad from Blackmagic Design.