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Mediaproxy Illustrates The Evolution From Compliance Monitoring Company To Preview New LogServer IP at IBC 2012

In just over a decade, broadcast logging has evolved from a narrow compliance role to a much broader range of monitoring and revenue generating capabilities for broadcasters, cable and satellite companies. At IBC, Mediaproxy will preview the company’s new LogServer IP, providing a compelling demonstration of how far logging technology has come.
“The advances we have made have turned loggers into highly diverse appliances for broadcasters, covering far more territory than their original mandate,” said Erik Otto, CEO of Mediaproxy. “LogServer IP is the next generation of logging and is ready to cater to an even wider range of applications in the broadcast chain.”
Before the transition to digital tools, broadcasters relied on VHS long-play tape recorders to log their transmissions. The process was simply a tedious requirement, providing limited value beyond regulatory compliance. On top of that, image quality was poor, and reviewing and managing tapes were time-consuming processes.
In 2001, Mediaproxy introduced LogServer, one of the first digital compliance loggers. Today, hundreds of broadcasters around the world are recording thousands of channels using Mediaproxy’s technology for a wide range of SDI and analog content. What was once legislated overhead has evolved into a sophisticated tool for monitoring and monetizing.
“Once people started using our LogServer platform they immediately saw opportunities for a range of value-added applications in their businesses,” said Otto. “They could use it to confirm that ads had run properly, validating sales to advertisers. Operations managers could respond in an instant to fault reports. It began to change their business.”
Early Advances in Digital Logging
With LogServer, media recorded from baseband sources is essentially encoded, proxy-size media. Though this met the requirements of content compliance and covered some quality assurance, it did not offer an easy way to enhance quality of service (QoS) of the actual transmission or to access the metadata available in the original transport stream (TS). The cost of storage was relatively high and it was not realistic to retain 30 to 90 or more days of native transmission-quality video and audio as required by regulators. In addition, network connections were not always fast enough for larger files sizes.
“Moore’s Law over time gave us faster hardware, larger capacity servers and storage, and faster networking infrastructure,” explained Otto. “That opened things up significantly for broadcasters.”
LogServer ASI
The LogServer ASI, introduced by Mediaproxy in 2009, represented the second generation of digital logging and recorded content directly from ASI-based transmission sources, directly accessing the MPEG transport stream. This allowed broadcasters to monitor, review and analyse native transmissions, and to store them on the same cost-effective local storage array in parallel with their proxy media. Engineers could now review native transmissions from the past few days to complete technical forensics to improve their services. QoS monitoring, whether live or offline, provided seamless review from local and remote locations.
“With the introduction of our LogServer ASI, network broadcasters, cable and satellite companies and IPTV providers could now continuously capture and monitor their actual transmissions as they go to air in parallel to their proxy compliance media,” explained Otto. “This provided customers with a path to true compliance, since baseband is not the transmission format. Also being able to perform ASI playout for sections of interest directly from the logger’s easy-to-use web interface has given engineers a powerful option to replay transmission in its original format on demand.”
ASI logging enables simultaneous recording and streaming of up to hundreds of ASI- or IP-based channels. Metadata, such as closed captioning, subtitles, multiple language tracks, and EPG and PSIP information is available for advanced search, live detection and after-the-fact exports via extensive burn-in features.
“Anyone can record audio and video,” emphasized Otto. “The advantage of ASI and IP logging is that it opens the doors to the mining of metadata and identification of potential technical issues in the transmission domain. LogServer ASI offers accurate parsing of transport stream data such as EIT info, video and audio properties and any private descriptors of interest. These are made available for seamless and fast search via the LogPlayer web interface.”
Meeting the Evolving Needs of Broadcasters
“With the worldwide push to regulate and monitor loudness, broadcasters have another thing to track,” said Otto. “This is a great example of how a flexible platform like ours can evolve with the changing needs of broadcasters.”
The Mediaproxy LogServer and LogServer ASI are fully compliant with BS.1770, ATSC A/85 (for the FCC in the U.S. and CRTC in Canada) and European EBU P/LOUD R 128 loudness regulations.
Managing energy consumption is another concern for broadcasters around the world. “In Australia the push to regulate carbon footprint reductions is already on via the recently introduced carbon tax,” explained Otto.
Mediaproxy offers increased channel density in their server rack units, with a highly power-efficient 2RU server that provides up to 12 channels of HD/SD-SDI, analog or ASI/IP input, 12 TB of storage and its industry-leading 2RU Blade system, allowing for recording up to 48 channels of ASI logging.
“Most loggers have 4-8 channels in a single server,” said Otto. “This effectively means reduced storage, and higher energy and cooling requirements compared to our 2RU loggers. Better still, due to our reduced footprint, the initial cost is lower and the total cost of ownership is lower, especially over time. With more channels, more content, and more equipment requiring more cooling, broadcasters in locations where energy or rack space is scarce may be struggling to keep up. We’re doing our part to cater to that.”
Introducing the Mediaproxy LogServer IP
“The logical progression of the LogServer platform along the path of TS recording is to include more MPEG-specific features,” said Otto. “Alongside native MPEG logging, this includes full MPEG playback and live streaming, as well as transport stream monitoring and analysis.”
The LogServer IP, which will be unveiled at IBC 2012, offers native TS logging, MPEG streaming and playback. LogServer IP enables search, playback and analysis of both decrypted and encrypted transport streams sources. It comes with Monwall IP, the next-generation multi-viewer client, providing live MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 streaming and comprehensive TS event monitoring. The intuitive configuration and user interfaces allow for easy setup of any system. LogServer IP is also compliant with all loudness regulations.
LogServer IP ships as software-only and is also available as an appliance with either 80 TB or 120 TB of RAID protected storage. Mediaproxy offers a seamless upgrade path from either direction: owners of the LogServer or LogServer ASI can move to LogServer IP; customers with LogServer IP can add proxy logging and encoded streaming to their platform.
“It’s fantastic how much the technology has evolved, but we haven’t lost sight of the original reason for logging broadcasts,” explained Otto. “With ever growing demand for content and higher channel counts everywhere, regulatory scrutiny has increased. Our LogServer platforms will continue to have their focus on reliability and compliance while adding a lot of additional value in the process.”
The Mediaproxy LogServer IP will be available in Q4 2012. Visitors to IBC can see the new Mediaproxy technology first-hand at stand 7.J07 in Hall 7.
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