OTT Stream Monitoring, Logging, Recording and QoS
Infinity is a ready-to-go appliance designed to make ATSC 3.0 handling simple, easy, and cost-effective. It provides the full functionality of compliance, monitoring, logging, and recording for all engineering and operational needs.
Infinity is only 1 ½ rack units (RU) and is delivered with the ATSC 3.0 RF interface already installed. Within a few minutes of racking it and connecting it to the antenna, users can begin their monitoring, setup up the recordings, and configuring the alarm parameters.
This advanced solution is designed to work as a standalone system or alongside any other monitoring systems – such as those for ATSC 1.0 channels. It provides remote access and can also easily be installed near transmitters or in remote locations where monitoring is required.
When Infinity is deployed in conjunction with one or more other Vela SmartLoggers, an included software enhancement allows users to access, view, and manage all channels, across all servers, in one set of GUIs.
Infinity is designed to support the complex video and audio requirements for ATSC 3.0 sources. This includes full handling of Dolby AC-3, DD+, and AC-4 along with all of the appropriate metadata.
Each channel can be recorded in up to a 4 Mb/s proxy file or simply monitored without recordings.
An added benefit of Vela’s SmartLoggers is that all their features, functions, and capabilities, for Engineering and Operations, are included with the purchase of the base system. With Vela, there’s no need to buy the system and then go seeking to purchase additional features for extra costs.
When recording, the channels can be individually configured, for compression and retention duration (such as keeping the main channel for 6 months or 1 year), to optimize the server’s storage.
As the retention durations are reached, Vela’s SmartLoggers offer the ability to transfer the oldest content to another storage platform (NAS, cloud drive, etc.) instead of merely deleting it. This not only clears capacity for the new recordings, but also extends the life of the older content to virtually forever. The same GUIs used for accessing recent content are used to access the content on these other platforms – making the storage environment flexible and convenient for all users.
Powered by GPU
All of Vela’s turnkey SmartLoggers are delivered with a Nvidia Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) card installed. The GPU benefits begin with accelerated graphics rendering, colorspace correction, and other important functions.
However, Vela’s SmartLoggers extends these benefits by shifting all of the HLS stream transcoding, required for viewing content within the user interfaces, from the Central Processing Unit (CPU) to the GPU. This means that the SmartLogger’s CPU is free to do more channels, in one system, and do more with those channels.
Vela’s use of the GPU extends the overall efficiency and performance of the SmartLogger system.
There are two user interfaces into this solution. The first is the seen by connecting any HDMI monitor into the server. The second is accessed using any HTML5 web browser – such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari. By using a web browser, instead of installing an application, Vela gives its users the advantage and flexibility of accessing the system from wherever they are on any computing platform they’re using – including laptops, workstations, servers, tablets, and phones. When connecting remotely, all of Vela’s SmartLoggers support the use of firewalls, VPNs, and other security networking. The browser-based graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are also customizable on a per-user basis.
Infinity+ provides four different multiviewers, to serve the technical and monitoring needs of different groups and purposes:
Real-Time Multiviewer with No Delay
Data-Rich Operations & Engineering Multiviewer
Conditional “Penalty Box” for Viewing Only on Exceptions
Multiviewing Dashboard for Low-Latency and Non-Live Demands
The multiviewers provide all the necessary tools to not only monitor the video and audio content, but can also optionally see important data such as captioning, loudness levels, trigger information, alarm statuses, and an alarm history. Additionally, users may review a channel’s recording directly within the multiviewer windows – much like one would do using a DVR’s quick-back button; this eliminates the need to switch to other GUI pages to simply make a quick check on something observed.
The Penalty Box is particularly useful for its monitoring-by-exception interface. The valuable concept is that the screen should normally be blank. However, it immediately displays any channel that is currently in an active alarm state – thus drawing the attention of anybody within viewing range. The screen will split, as necessary, if additional channels encounter active alarms while others are still in progress.
When using all Vela SmartLoggers, users may enter notes directly into the multiviewer, editor, and other content viewing windows. These notes may be technical in nature (such as “heard a pop”), programming in nature (such as “governor passed through the scene”), used for sports (such as “home team scored”), or entered for a variety of other reasons – all providing the user with an ability to enter custom metadata.
As the note is entered, it is time, date, and channel stamped. So later, as people search for these notes, they can simply click the note and be taken directly to the point in the content where the note was left – like an intelligent bookmark.
Notes are an effective way for users, especially those in different departments or locations, to collaborate without needing to send lengthy explanatory emails with approximated timecodes.
Alarms, Data & Notations
All compliance alarms and logged data are searchable and viewable in table form and in many cases, via colorful graphs. These graphs can be useful to visualize behavior (such as loudness and bitrate variations) instead of just looking at a set of numbers. Graphs are also helpful to determine appropriate limits and thresholds.
All of the logged data and measurements are also downloadable in multiple forms (CSV, XLS, PDF, etc.). Vela customers do not pay any charges for extracting data to make their own documents, reports, charts, etc.
Click here for more information about Vela’s powerful data and analytics.
In addition to all of the on-screen statuses and data, all notifications are customizable on a per-channel, per-alarm basis where users can be notified via one or more different methods:
Text (SMS) Messages
Microsoft Teams Messages
Webex Teams Messages
WhatsApp Messenger Messages
Pikolo ITracker pushes
Application Programming Interface
Dolby AC-4 Metadata
When working with the powerful Dolby AC-4 audio format used in ATSC 3.0 channels, it’s important to be able to view and download its metadata – especially when trying to analyze or troubleshoot audio behavior.
This solution is fully-capable of marking and exporting clips from any recorded channel’s content. As the clips are generated, they’ll be automatically transcoded to the desired target packing (MXF, MP4, MOV, etc.) and users may overlay metadata on the clips so that they may better provide information or “tell the full story” on their own.
Once the clips are generated, they’re available within an Export Library that enables users to search (based on numerous factors including creator name) and download all of the files. Vela also provides the ability to provide users with a Shareable Link, instead of downloading files; this is particularly useful for large files that can’t be sent via email. These links can be assigned expiration dates and permission to download (via the link) can be granted.
Transport Stream Analysis
Beyond merely monitoring and recording the channels, this solution also provides tools for analyzing and reporting on the transport streams carrying them. Users can check on their PSIP data, Transport Stream Services Map, TR101.290 error counts, and see graphs of their streams’ live and past behavior. This functionality extends the check for channel quality to a full monitoring of the station’s Quality of Service (QoS).
This solution also gives users all the tools they need to effectively work with digital triggers. Alarms and notifications (emails, texts, Slack, etc.) can occur when triggers come in and (often more importantly) when they’re insertion is missed. The occurrence of triggers can be visualized in tables and on graphs.
To assist with troubleshooting, the digital trigger data packets can be opened, examined, and even downloaded. When problems occur, Vela’s SmartLoggers don’t just show users that digital triggers occurred and leave them wondering; they’ll help determine why the trigger didn’t result in the expected behavior – right down to the individual fields in the descriptors.
Searching for Content
Searching for content is easy with Vela’s solutions. Users are given many different methods of finding content, which suit different purposes at different times. These include:
Data and Time
By providing thumbnails, Vela’s SmartLoggers make it easy to find your place, in the recordings, using visual references instead of relying on timecodes.
Using as-run logs makes finding programming, especially commercials and promos, much easier. These aren’t usually in the program guide (EPG/PSIP) and finding them can be a challenge – often involving sending emails and calling other departments. Vela’s SmartLoggers integrate with all the playout companies to provide as-run log integration that allows users to easily search the logs, jump to loading the appropriate content, and even exporting clips from a single button click.
Mobile Device App
When away from your computers, Vela makes it easy to access your systems via a handy mobile device application.
This app easily loads on iOS and Android to connect to all your Vela SmartLoggers and/or Central Management Systems. It provides a thumbnail and alarm status along with other data and even the program guide (EPG/PSIP). Changing channels is done with a simple swipe left or right. When necessary, a single click can toggle the thumbnail into viewing a live stream of the channel’s output.