Protected Transport Bolsters Signal Monitoring For Live Broadcasts Over IP

Any experienced master control operator or quality control manager will tell you that monitoring hundreds of feeds requires that each individual channel is delivered reliably, on time and to the exact location it was meant to go. When these signals are distributed over the public internet, strict protocols must be followed in order to ensure reliability and quality for every video service it supports.

Understanding this, the software design engineers at TAG Video Systems have added Zixi’s network-aware transport protocol to the MCM-9000 audio and video monitoring platform. It gives customers virtually error-free file delivery over the public Internet for live broadcasts across any IP network. As a new software feature, Zixi is seamlessly integratedwith the MCM-9000 to let users monitor UHD, HD, SD, radio and ancillary data ina wide variety of compressed formats.

For users, this shows up as a new interface format on the monitoring platform, which canbe located in the cloud or on premise. Either way, the technology is accessed from within the same interface. This allows customers to easily aggregate all sources into one visual mosaic monitoring platform. The protocol and video solutions stack, including Feeders, Receivers and Broadcasters, aresupportedeliminating the need for outboard processing or servers as was previously required.

Input stream support allows the feeds to be received, monitored and displayed directly, and output stream support allows mosaic outputs to also include transport processing technology when feeding operator displays that are distant from the system.

Reliable Delivery And Reduced Cost

Compression/streaming technology makes up the core of theSoftware-Defined Video Platform.  To ensure reliable file delivery, thetechnology uses sequenced hitless and bonded hitless failover techniques over IP networks that could include a mixture of the internet, fiber, satellite and cellular networks. It also dynamically manages the video bitrate control based upon network conditions, facilitating a smooth signal path with no packet loss.

Secure Production Contribution

During contribution for production, a single UHD feed requires more than 10 GBps of bandwidth to the cloud. HD (1080p) takes up 3 GBps. In order to reduce thesestreamsizes, a user could put a camera in the field, compress the output according to whatever method they desire and by pushing it across transport processing systems they can be sure it will arrive successfully, with virtually no loss of packets.

Stream encryption protects valuable content from piracy, alteration or service corruption. If you’re producing valuable content in the cloud and have to downlink it for distribution purposes, that distributionlink is always secure when it hits the channel monitoring stage on the ground.

Lastly, this technology is streamformat agnostic. So it can transport HD or 4K one day and, perhaps, 8K the next—when it becomes widely available. This meshes nicely with TAG’s philosophy of providing wide signal support.

Remote Production

If you are doing remote At Home production and you need to see the multiviewer output at a crew member’s home, the signal can be sent using network aware transport protocols. This way the technician sitting at home (or at a remote facility) can have access to high-quality feeds on a protected link. It acts like a private tunnel within the public Internet.

And just as people use it for camera uplinks, TAG can use transport processing technology to link the video outputs, in a separate application, and send that output over the public Internet. In this case you are not constrained to multicast networks. Therefore, if a user decides that multicast in the cloud is not entirely suitable for their ST2110 infrastructure, transport processing technology offersa way to chain together multiple compute applications and thus ensure reliable stream delivery.

Anticipating Signal Health

If network aware transport streamtechnology was not built into their monitoring system, a user would have touse an external decoder feeding the multiviewer with ST 2110 IP. However, that link is neither error nor data loss protected. So, if for some reason there was a problem between the decoder and the multiviewer, an operator could not quickly identify where the upstream problem is. TAG’s unique integration leverages the ability to monitor the incoming streams, so unlike an external device, the stream monitoringcan detect and reveal any problems prior to any other processing. In this way, the system continues to monitor the incoming pre-processed IP stream in addition to monitoring the decoder output.

Monitoring And So Much More

The MCM-9000 provides signal and live feed monitoring for all of the content transmission layers, starting from the TS packet header all the way down to the encoded video content and quality. It creates a visual mosaic from the monitored streams with rich data overlay, supplying NOC operators with a rich tool for error detection and alerting. The resulting mosaics are HD or UHD video streams, available in uncompressed as well as encoded and transmitted enabling remote monitoring, mobile device access, and a very flexible installation topology.

The system monitors for ETSI TR 101 290 compliance via user- determined properties like video freeze, black video, audio silence, audio levels, color space, resolution change, service bitrate and PMT structure.

Broadcasters need monitoringtools that are error free, lossless and secure. Most transport links do not provide all three of those important elements, but Zixi does. It also allows TAG monitoring software to deeply probe what’s coming into the facility and thereby monitor signal behavior more accurately.

Monitoring customers want a robustand flexiblesoftware-based probe that can economically manage a variety of signals in a highly secure way. For those TAG software engineers—and for TAG’s customers—implementing Zixi made operational, business and technical sense.

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