A specialist in cloud-based, enterprise-level content monitoring and analysis is nearly ready to unveil the latest addition to its Vision cloud-based monitoring portfolio.
With this release, Qligent hopes it will be the perfect “Match” for MVPDs and broadcasters alike.
Match is the name of the newest entrée to its Vision portfolio, and attendees to IBC2017, schedule for Sept. 14-18 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, will get their first look at it.
Available as a cloud-based solution or on-premise software, Match provides real-time, automated comparison of transport stream, video and audio to spot and flag program-related errors as the signals move across today’s multi-platform distribution platforms.
The evolution of QligentTM Vision encompasses objective errors (QoS), subjective errors (QoE), and now programmatic errors (Match).
The software is ideal for use by broadcasters, networks, advertisers, and regulators using any international broadcast standard.
“At various points in the distribution chain, Match can decode the transport stream back to baseband video and audio in order to compare that version with the reference data it captured of the program while it was in its native state prior to distribution,” said Qligent COO Ted Korte. “In comparing and analyzing the video and audio content, Match looks for programmatic errors and anomalies that may have occurred due to repeated encoding, multiplexing or other processes as the signals move downstream. The moment Match spots an inconsistency, It triggers alarms and alerts, such as emails or texts, so that costly broadcast errors can be prevented or mitigated before they adversely impact compliance requirements or Quality of Experience (QoE) for viewers.”
Match arms broadcasters with a toolset to identify today’s most common media distribution errors, including:
- Airing the wrong show, or putting a show on the wrong channel
- Capturing programmatic local ad splicing errors
- Assigning a foreign language to the wrong audio track
- Mistaking a static image for frozen video
- Insertion of incorrect program elements, such as bugs, crawls, time and temp, etc., into the stream
- Missing subtitles or audio
According to Korte, programmatic errors are on the rise as broadcasters increasingly outsource their master control operations and other functions to third parties; and as video networks expand broadcast content delivery via terrestrial, cable, satellite and over-the-top (OTT) video platforms.
“These errors are generally not caught by the usual quality control (QC) methods that are in place because there is nothing technically wrong with the signal but rather the program content it contains,” Korte said.
For example, Match immediately recognizes if a program was intended for 16:9 HDTV broadcast, but was mistakenly re-encoded or multiplexed as letterboxed along the distribution path. The system can also prevent false alarm triggers for frozen video during playout when, in reality, that imagery was a static PowerPoint that was intentionally left up onscreen while its associated audio kept going. This is a common occurrence with infomercials, weather maps, and other seemingly static content.
“Given the dynamic nature of last-minute changes made to media streams before air, operators may not know what the correct program, promo, or advertisement content should be,” Korte noted. “Match can automatically alert users when a mismatch is detected, and generate a full recording of both the reference stream and monitored stream. It will also quickly provide a visual representation with thumbnails, which makes it easier to verify whether there is a problem with the content.”
While the original Match reference data is not embedded in the transport stream, this ancillary data is readily available for reference at any point in the workflow.
“Without this capability, as long as the video is playing out smoothly, the on-duty network operator might not realize that there’s a big problem. Maybe the EPG calls for the Big Bang Theory to be on that channel, but they’re airing a documentary instead,” Korte said. “And the wrong show could run for quite some time before the mistake is finally caught, usually when a confused or angry viewer calls in to report the issue.”