Review: Inlet Technologies Spinnaker S3000
For all those minor issues, Spinnaker excels where it counts: great encodes. Our tests created quality results from analog video and audio files that were extremely clean. We were able to do simultaneous VC-1 encodes along with a Flash encode, all in real time. We also tested the override feature, where we interrupted a scheduled encode and then began an ad-hoc encode; note that the ad-hoc encode defaults to the same settings as the previous encode, so if you want to send out an "all points bulletin," be sure to have a preset for that purpose.
Finally, there are two other features of note: alarms and closed-captioning. Alarms can be set to sound or come up on the front panel of the unit (via the multiline LED), a web browser, or an email. Alarms are triggered when anomalies occur in system temperature, input connections such as the analog multipin connector or the Ethernet ports, and a few other user-set features. These can be turned off to ignore particular monitoring, such as a second Ethernet connection that might intentionally not be plugged in, by selecting "ignore" on the details status tab. This feature is very helpful in alerting those who monitor encoding on multiple devices.
Closed-captioning is another feature that Inlet delved into on the VC-1 codec to offer several options: Spinnaker supports 608, 708, and SAMI, and it can use Line 21 closed captions to put directly into the encode. There’s also a feature that supports a "burn-in" caption that is written directly into the video. If this option is chosen for VP6 (currently the only way to do closed captioning in VP6) then it will also burn the captions into the simultaneous Windows Media encodes.
I have been impressed with what I’ve seen with Spinnaker, but I wasn’t able to test one feature before press time: Dubbed "roll back," this feature allows the user to undo a software or firmware update, in much the same way as Windows allows the user to roll back to the "last known good configuration." I’m sure there’s lots more to learn, and I want to test that feature, so an extended version of this review will be posted at www.braintrustdigital.com after the next Spinnaker software update.