Compliance and Logging

  • With David Kirk

Compliance and Logging

Contributing Editor David Kirk looks at the latest developments in terms of hardware, software and services...

Broadcast TV compliance and logging have become increasingly refined since the early decades of relying on MCR staff to eyeball live and upcoming feeds on a rack of cathode ray tube monitors. Automation has long since replaced caffeine. The process continues to become more efficient and more precise, notably with the addition of machine-learning-based content recognition. This article summarises some of the latest developments in this field.

Actus Digital has produced one and only one product for over 17-years. This has evolved into the Intelligent Monitoring Platform, designed to provide a comprehensive toolset for broadcast compliance and logging. The latest Actus release, version 8.5, includes several innovations: "Compliance logging browser-based multiviewers are known for a 20-30 second delay as they convert the video to a browser-friendly streaming format," comments SVP Ken Rubin. "This delay is slightly extended each day until the browser is refreshed by what is known as 'drift'. Implementing new and unique technology, we have eliminated drift and provide consistent 2-3 second latency to our browser-based multiviewer. This brings customisable master control multiviewing to unlimited simultaneous Actus users. Newly released Actus Synchro is another enhancement. Selecting the Synchro button on any alert displays a multiviewer of that individual channel at many probe points throughout the channel's delivery chain. This enables engineers to immediately identify where the issue is introduced so that they can quickly remedy it. Actus Synchro also lends itself extremely well to OTT feeds. It identifies which VBR renditions are experiencing an issue and at which locations in the OTT delivery chain, including pre-encoding, distribution feed, or post-distribution from specific CDNs. Actus version 8.5 enhancements furtaher enable broadcasters to combine silos of technology for specific functions on an organisation-shared platform delivering many benefits. These include: Combing all input formats; integration with traffic; providing playlist and as-run log discrepancy reports with links to video requiring make-goods; regulator compliance; quality assurance/alerting; transport stream analysis and SCTE analysis."

Digital Nirvana's MonitorIQ RM introduced in April 2022, is video monitoring system for remote hub and headend sites. A derivative of Digital Nirvana’s MonitorIQ, it is designed to monitor large numbers of individual locations very quickly. Cable operators and other video distributors can monitor hundreds of servers across a large geographic area to verify ad insertion, signal quality, service delivery, and proper programming placement at the local level, from one or multiple locations. Operators can see the entire channel lineup, change channels and view, fast forward, rewind or scroll through live or recorded content. This can be performed by region, ad zone or down to specific hubs or headends. Rather than having to go to every channel individually to set up a recording, technicians can schedule it on different channels and in different zones. “We designed MonitorIQ RM only for remote monitoring, taking away the things people don’t need and simplifying the user interface to make it extremely easy to do the job with as few clicks as possible," says SVP Russell Wise. "Then we found a price and functionality point that makes it a smart solution to both purchase and deploy. It is especially pertinent in Volicon RPM and Slingbox remote monitoring-type situations where we can bring access to live and recorded video at the touch of a fingertip from any place in the world.” MonitorIQ RM is available software-only or with server and hardware included.

Enco Systems' WebDAD 3.0 is the latest generation of the company’s browser-based, remote radio automation control system. WebDAD lets users remotely manage and control studio-based ENCO DAD radio automation systems from anywhere with an internet connection. Enhancements include an updated GUI layout designed to make operation more intuitive and streamline access to key features. Selectable dark/light modes let users tailor the display to their own preference. Reactive forms minimise the need to re-enter the same data in different sections of the workflow by retaining information across interface screens. “The ability for personnel to work remotely is critical in enabling today’s radio broadcasters to maximise their flexibility, efficiency, and operational resiliency,” says the company's President, Ken Frommert. “WebDAD 3.0 has been overhauled to address stations’ evolving remote access needs while providing an expandable and scalable platform for future functionality.

"WebDAD 3.0 also bolsters security with more granular control over user permissions, such as restricting access to specified libraries, functions, and systems."

Further updates include a simplified deployment model for easier installation and upgrades; enhanced cross-browser support; and new support for third-party accessibility assistance tools to improve usability for people with impairments or disabilities. In addition to enabling remote management of on-premises DAD systems, WebDAD also serves as the user interface for ENCO’s DAD Disaster Recovery (DAD-DR). A cloud-based companion to DAD automation systems, DAD-DR provides a continually synchronised clone of the broadcaster’s on-premises DAD deployment that is always ready to take over programme and ad playout if a natural disaster or critical technical failure occurs. DAD-DR operators can use WebDAD to update playlists remotely, add new content, voice track shows, and perform library maintenance even if their physical station is completely out of commission or inaccessible.

PlayBox Neo's Capture Suite is designed to maximise the efficiency of broadcast content ingest. Multiple ingest channels can be managed across multiple servers. Compliance-related features include a multiviewer with black-frame and frozen-frame alarms plus loudness audio level monitoring as well as manual, scheduled and compliance ingest modes with automated input switching. Functions such as input selection, ingest presets, file-naming rules, assignments and auto-transfer can be performed quickly and easily from a single graphic interface. Content can be edited before the completion of ingest. MXF and TS files are available for immediate playout via AirBox Neo-20 automation without having to wait for the ingest process to complete.

Qligent's Vision software is designed to perform monitoring and analysis of media service delivery. Available for on-premises, cloud-native or cloud-hybrid operation, it is claimed to provide a true picture of media performance across multiple delivery platforms with actionable insights across QoS, QoE and regulatory compliance.

Stirlitz Media's MCR is a software based broadcast and OTT monitoring solution for any MPEG-TS-based platform - satellite, terrestrial and cable. Designed around the Stirlitz Media IP Multiviewer, it monitors all vital parameters for multiple MPEG-TS feeds. It can be used to check quality of delivery for all elements of the stream including metadata such as subtitles or SCTE35. It also supports monitoring for OTT, NDI and SDI sources. Advanced monitoring for HLS sources will be added shortly. MCR can be expanded to a complete compliance monitoring solution by adding Stirlitz Media Logger software. The software runs on Windows OS servers - standalone or virtual - local or IP linked.

Stirlitz Media's IP Multiviewer displays multiple channels in a mosaic on one or multiple screens, physical or virtual. It supports any MPEG-TS source up to 4K/UHD as well as OTT, NDI and SDI/HDMI sources including metadata such as closed captions and SCTE35. SDI and HDMI sources are captured through a card or encoders. The software offers extended alarms and statistics and optionally provides advanced monitoring of MPEG-TS and HLS structure and delivery. Large and decentralised installations can be managed from a single screen using the Enterprise option.

Vela's Infinity enables broadcasters to monitor, log, alert on exception, transcode, record and view the output of their new ATSC 3.0 channels in a manner integrated with all of the broadcaster’s legacy 1.0 channels, using the same compliance monitoring, technical and operations workflows. Vela’s Constellation OTT solution enables broadcast stations and groups to monitor their OTT and FAST channels. Operators can monitor, log, verify, transcode, alarm on exception and multiview OTT and FAST channels. They can also perform aircheck and ad verification with Constellation OTT which is available as a purpose-built server, on virtual machines
and for IP networking.

VoiceInteraction has been developing its use of automatic speech recognition for decades, claiming significant advancements in natural language processing and understanding. "These AI innovations drive our platforms, resulting in proprietary features that set our products apart," says CEO João Neto.

"Our broadcast compliance tool, Media Monitoring System or MMS, automatically monitors the audio and video input for real-time fault alerts, offering full transcriptions of the broadcasts and useful metadata for critical automated reports. The algorithms map out the broadcast contents automatically in a searchable network of metadata. They deliver much more than a simple full text transcription, performing speaker identification, content segmentation, closed captioning decode, monitoring and recording, and detecting advertisements and music. Integrated with Nielsen ratings and logo and watermark recognition, this translates into advanced features that benefit multiple departments: track mentions, highlighting trending stories or selecting topic-specific news segments. Royalty lists can be compiled easily and ad performance can be tracked across multiple channels, even competitors. Users can customize what they want to see and track with the integrated multiviewer. Since content deliverance is key, clips can be easily selected and converted to HLS or MPEG-DASH transcodes for web-based visualisation."