Volicon products support a unified monitoring ecosystem stretching across the cable enterprise, from ingest to headend to hub. Deployment of the company's Observer(R) systems can provide valuable functionality in specific applications, such as compliance monitoring, ad verification, and quality of experience monitoring, as well as a view of the cable infrastructure in its entirety.
Compliance Monitoring: Loudness, Closed Captions, Transport Stream Integrity
At the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, Volicon will demonstrate products that address critical areas in compliance monitoring, at ingest and anywhere else further down the chain. The company will present solutions for determining that loudness, closed captions, and the elements of the transport stream all remain in compliance with governing standards.
In loudness monitoring applications, Volicon's Observer TS(R) and Observer(R) RPM systems allow operators to measure loudness levels of all commercials accurately and simultaneously, as well as to burn measurements into the A/V asset for a clear affidavit. Integrated content recording not only ensures unparalleled loudness-compliance metering, but also makes the process of performing spot checks easy and unambiguous. Accommodating the latest ITU BS.1770-1/3 and ATSC A/85 standards, Volicon's Observer systems incorporate simultaneous surround (full 5.1 mix) and stereo downmix measurements. Users thus can confirm that their loudness levels will remain within acceptable parameters while meeting the intent of the latest A/85 revision -- no matter how customers watch and listen to programming.
The release of the Closed Captioning Quality Order (FCC 14-12) earlier this year will eventually demand that cable operators be able to monitor and demonstrate the presence and integrity of closed captions. With frame-accurate logging of audio and video, as well as the metadata carried in the transport stream, the Observer TS system already equips operators to confirm the accuracy, synchronicity, and completeness of their captions. As additional rules are released, the system will provide a foundation for demonstrating compliance.
To evaluate the integrity of incoming transport streams and make sure that they can pass smoothly through the cable system, the low-cost Volicon Observer TS system logs the native MPEG transport stream. Users can proactively monitor and quickly troubleshoot a range of items, from the details of MPEG metadata -- AC-3, Dialnorm, PSIP, DVB subtitles, TR 101 290 -- all the way down to the quality of the rendered content.
Ad Monitoring and Verification
Throughout the expo, Volicon will demonstrate powerful approaches to ad monitoring and verification applications. The company's Observer(R) RPM and Scout systems enable the automatic capture of post-set-top box ad insertions for proof of broadcast, quality assurance, troubleshooting, and review. The Observer system can automatically change channels in anticipation of an ad window, record the entire window as it would be experienced by a viewer, and create a clip incorporating all of the metadata associated with that window. Observer users can then easily search for particular clips based on the metadata collected and export that content, complete with a timestamp, as an affidavit of performance.
The triggered recording application for Observer systems allows the operator to identify and record an impairment -- as well as its potential impact on viewer satisfaction -- when it occurs. This tool automatically creates an A/V clip from a specific service based on a fault notification, in turn providing audio and video that aid not only in troubleshooting, but also in verification and proof of experience. Offering electronic program guide data via an intuitive interface, a scheduled recording application for Observer systems makes it easy for operators to select specific time slots or programs for recording.
Offering an alternative to unreliable, inflexible consumer-oriented place- and time-shifting devices, Volicon addresses quality-of-experience (QoE) monitoring at the edge with a low-cost enterprise-grade solution that allows networks to perform remote troubleshooting and proactive remote monitoring of services. The company will feature its Observer(R) Scout A/V logging and monitoring solution, which facilitates QoE-based content monitoring, video recording, remote viewing, and troubleshooting of post-set-top box (STB) A/V feeds. Capable of connecting to as many as 16 different STBs, Observer Scout supports cost-effective troubleshooting across a high number and variety of STB models.
Volicon has extended support for the Observer Scout interface across all browsers, enabling users working across multiple platforms to work through the same intuitive user interface equipped with the same functionality. The addition of automatic video input scaling allows users to record inputs in any format, which in turn enables fast, simple plug-and-play system deployment.