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Addressing challenges in multiformat signal management and confidence monitoring by Brian Petersson, Video Design Engineering Manager, Wohler O ne of the many demands broadcasters face today is establishing effective multiformat signal management and confidence monitoring, which have become critically required capabilities, and there are several reasons behind this. The first is the broadcast industry’s progressive evolution — slow at first, but accelerating over the past few years — toward file-based media delivery and away from baseband. Second, the growing complexity of broadcast networks and the rising number of elements in the typical transmission chain have made identification and troubleshooting of problems in the MPEG transport stream an essential capability for most content providers. A third reason that multiformat signal management and monitoring has become essential is that, with the advent of tablets and smartphones, a much broader market of consumption has opened up, and file-based formats (typically MPEG2/4 and H.264) make it possible to distribute content in many forms to many devices and their users. Google and YouTube got this ball rolling, enabling on-demand viewing on phones and other handheld devices, and now smart TVs support it as well. Broadcasters can’t ignore the new opportunities this shift presents for delivering revenue-generating content. While content is being distributed via new outlets to an array of target devices, a great deal of content continues to be acquired within the traditional baseband environment. Cameras and recording media haven’t quite caught up, which means that many broadcasters are going through a transition period in which they must find a way to leverage libraries of baseband material — news archives, sports footage, and the like — for their broadcasts, as well as OTT and mobile services. As they do so, broadcasters require monitoring systems that can straddle the divide between baseband and file-based media and systems. A wealth of equipment for traditional monitoring (analog or digital) applications is available today, but broadcasters have few options in file- based monitoring systems. Test equipment tends to be expensive and often focuses primarily on the MPEG packet itself — the medium, or transport mechanism — rather than on the quality of audio and video, or on critical metadata such as closed captioning. What broadcasters need are solutions that address all important parameters across both the baseband and file- based domains. Wohler addresses this challenge with iON, which leverages Wohler’s world- class technologies to meet current and future signal management and confidence monitoring needs, on a single platform that can be remotely accessed and controlled from Web-enabled devices. Best of Both Worlds iON was designed from the ground up to operate in both the baseband and file-based worlds and to interchange video, audio, and data between those worlds. Because iON is able to transcode between the baseband and file- based environments, it can address the full range of monitoring and display systems used across the broadcast enterprise. As a result, this single solution offers robust monitoring of A/V content and data (and the transport 48 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 79 JULY 2013 TV-BAY079JUL13.indd 48 09/07/2013 16:52