Product Overview

Winnov is another company that is new to our survey this year, though they have been in the hardware encoder space for quite a while and even design and build their own capture cards.  In looking at their lecture capture product line, they offer a range of appliance-based solutions designed to fit various size rooms or groups of rooms. Winnov doesn’t include its own extensive publishing framework for the content these appliances generate, but instead is designed to push media to an external CMS such as Kaltura or Ensemble Video.

Core Distinguishing Feature Set

  • Appliance focus–manufacture their own hardware
  • On-the-fly compositing
  • Strong focus on live broadcasting
  • Limited internal publishing capability–designed to integrate with a content management system like Kaltura or Ensemble

The C Series appliances comprise a relatively new line focused on lecture capture. One product in this line, the Cbox S3, is capable of capturing and streaming lectures across up to five rooms using only one appliance. This differs greatly from our current use of one appliance per room per scheduled recording or broadcast. Another interesting feature is their virtual camera technology, which allows you to take a single video camera and virtualize it into several cameras by cropping different regions, such as a close-up of the presenter or of an area on a blackboard.

The C Series appliances can be accessed individually via a web UI, or through a centralized monitoring system, called Command Center, a windows application that allows for scheduling, automating and monitoring all connected rooms and appliances on a given network.

Like the Crestron Capture-HD and the Extron SMP 351, or the new Epiphan Pearl, the Cbox appliances offer on the fly compositing of inputs, and you can pre-configure output in a very wide array of encoding presets. The unit also functions as a broadcaster in that you can push directly to external providers like UStream or a Wowza server. The Cbox series goes even further to offer scene change detection and OCR to create a metadata wrapper around presentations. External providers that have been customized to handle Winnov’s proprietary player can incorporate these additional elements, and Winnov indicated both Kaltura and Ensemble can do so.

The Cbox S3 appliance offers both a single- and two-system rack mount kit that allows two appliances to fit side by side in a standard 19” rack. This could be of benefit where rack space is a concern.

C Series Comparison:


Winnov and Duke

The Cbox P3, shown above, represents the high end of the Cbox line. It is a full-fledged production broadcasting solution that happens to also be an approach to mobile classroom recording. The S3 and L3, which are designed for fixed installations, are more firmly rooted in the lecture capture space. However, their feature set still tends toward mobile video production. As such, the price point for these units is higher than more basic options such as the Crestron Capture-HD and the Extron SMP 351. Winnov has a solid reputation, and these units are certainly something we would consider for niche applications, but at Duke we currently interested in a more cost effective and scalable approach to campus-wide lecture capture than this system affords.