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Pixel Power Streamlines Automation of Broadcast Graphics

(September 14, 2001)
Pixel Power announced multiple initiatives to streamline the automation of broadcast graphics using its established range of Clarity, Collage and Graphite character and graphics generators. PixelWeb is a Windows application, which gathers data, processes it and sends it to graphics pages under the control of simple scripts.

The Pixel Power COM object provides a simple interface for developers and integrators to use to integrate RS232 control of Pixel Power devices into their own applications. The Global Fields manager is a Clarity accessory, which links template fields to ODBC, DCOM and Microsoft Excel data sources.

Running on a PC under Windows NT/2000 PixelWeb provides a highly configurable method of gathering and processing data for entry into graphics displays. Data sources may be locally resident on the PC, on the company LAN/WAN or even at Internet web and FTP sites. The extracted data is sent to template fields on Collage, Graphite or Clarity in real time. The PixelWeb program operates hand-in-hand with PERL (Practical Extraction and Reporting Language) scripts allowing complex processing of the data along the way to building the graphics pages. Data collection processes created using PixelWeb can allow operator entry of critical starting data, or run continuously in a completely automated fashion.

The PixelPower COM object has been produced to assist developers and integrators in writing software for controlling Pixel Power character generators using an RS232 connection. It can be used with any Microsoft COM object enabled application and permits simple device-control implementation, using Visual Basic or Microsoft Office macros. In this manner, data can be downloaded from applications such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel without having to worry about the low-level communication protocol.

The global fields manager is an integral part of Clarity and permits linking of ODBC data sources, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet cells and other DCOM data directly to template fields within a graphics page. The data can update automatically or whenever the page is recalled.

The PixelWeb application is already in use at GroupW network services in Connecticut, USA, where it automates three interactive television shows for the Arts and Entertainments Network's History Channel.

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