The Mbox® Media Server Family Welcomes New Addition: Mbox® v5

Media Server

With a solid track record of over 20 years, PRG's Mbox® has consistently delivered creative solutions for powerful and flexible media manipulation and playback. Mbox is a fully featured media server, perfect for live and cued events that require multi-layer composition with multiple input and output options. From music artists such as Miranda Lambert at the Stagecoach Festival at Coachella to films like Everything Everywhere All At Once to the hit musical Six on Broadway, from its inception, it’s been popular across markets. And because it’s a family of products, it offers a solution for every application – from the simplest to the most complex. The just launched v5 software is a universal application that runs natively on Apple Silicon and Intel Macs and leverages Apple’s Metal framework for better performance and efficiency. Mbox v5 is fully compatible with all current Apple Mac hardware and the latest macOS versions.

PRG is proud to have Mbox software in use on many diverse projects. "Because the original developers all came from production, Mbox has always been ideal for our live entertainment markets. It's an excellent media playback solution for applications where operators make live, real-time changes during a performance,” says Matt Corke, PRG's Mbox Product Manager. “It also excels in pixel mapping. And users often prefer Mbox because they can build their own systems, using their own hardware. It’s less expensive and easy to use compared to other servers.”

Eric Wade of Texas-based Crossfade Design, a longtime Mbox fan, used it on Janet Jackson's latest North American tour, Together Again, and plans to upgrade to v5 for Jackson's new tour which starts in June. "One thing I love about working with Mbox is the support I get from Matt," said Wade. "He is helping me refine the software for some segments in the show where we have dancers on stage using iPhones as live feed cameras. The shots are pretty awesome, so that's a cool aspect where Mbox, with its many inputs, really makes an amazing visual impact. Matt has put a lot of emphasis on reducing latency for live IMAG so that your frame loss is significantly less.”

In addition to concert touring, Mbox is used on many televised competition-type programs and series. Lisa Pritchett and Jeff Shood of Bowie Productions, providers of top-quality visual production services for live TV and music events, use Mbox for its on-the-fly queue shifting and color adjustments.

"We use a lot of timecode. What's great about Mbox with a lighting console is that I can use two instances of timecode simultaneously - the console’s timecode for different hits and to execute several cues on the beat and timecode in Mbox for pre-rendered content that needs to roll in sync with the music,” said Shood when discussing his work on The Masked Singer and The Voice.

Both Pritchett and Shood were excited about the Mbox v5 software release. They used the new software for the content-heavy Miss Universe Pageant, which was held in El Salvador this past November. “Mbox is the ultimate tool for instances when elements have been added at the last second. For Miss Universe, the President of El Salvador had a lot of creative input. As my team created the content, I got notes from the government's office asking for "more blue" to match and magnify the color of the country's flag." Pritchett said. “Mbox made it super easy to immediately adjust the color to meet the client’s requirements in real time.”

Because it’s incredibly robust and reliable, Mbox is also a great tool for unattended, architectural applications where an event occurs multiple times per day, multiple days per week. It played a significant role in the Saks Fifth Avenue Christmas Holiday installation, Carousel of Dreams. Saks partnered with luxury fashion and beauty brand Dior to transform the 10-story facade of its New York flagship store with a spectacular holiday window display and light show experience. The most extensive holiday display in Saks' history, it took 100 artists ten months to plan and involved designing and manufacturing objects in Italy and flying them to New York to install.

Lighting Designer Chris Werner, Principal of CWD in Los Angeles, had approximately 300,000 individually controlled LED pixels embedded in over 300 custom-fabricated scenic elements. Werner used 27 timecode-synchronized servers to deliver over 5,000 universes of sACN data over a robust, high-bandwidth fiber-optic network. The system featured redundant control architecture and sophisticated error reporting, allowing remote monitoring and support. "For such a vast and complex installation, having the latest version of Mbox helped me realize my clients' vision with brilliant results," said Werner. The show ran daily from November 21, 2023, through January 5, 2024.

Mbox offers a subscription-based model with four licensing levels – Mini, Studio, Studio Plus, and Designer - structured to provide the proper functionality for shows from straightforward to complex. "PRG is dedicated to providing leading-edge technology solutions that enable producers and designers to achieve their creative vision, and Mbox, with its wide range of product options, is a perfect example of that," said Chris Conti, PRG Chief Innovation Officer. Users can download a free trial version of the software, or purchase a subscription, on the PRG website: PRG Mbox Software