Considering a new Video Server system?

We have a wide range of possible video server configurations, suitable for use in almost every broadcast environment. There are a number of points to be considered in order that we can offer the perfect configuration for your project:

  • Which video standard would you need to use – for instance, SD or HD?
  • Which format (codec/wrapper) would you want to record into?
  • Our servers can have either bi-directional ports (so they have separate input and output SDI connections) and can be switched on-the-fly between a recorder and a player, or single channels (with one SDI connection) which can be set as an input or an output. Would you prefer bi-directional ports, channels or a combination?
  • How much storage would you need? We can provide almost any capacity from 1 TB to hundreds of TB, although the capacity in hours will obviously vary according to the standard and format of material being used.
  • How much resilience would you need? We can provide different types of hardware platform according to requirements for the environment, ranging from single PSU and unmirrored drives to dual PSUs and hardware-based RAID-6 redundancy.
  • Do you have particular size or environment considerations - for instance, a particular rack height/depth requirement or intended for use in a vehicle?
  • Finally, how would you want to use the server – for instance, what type of production environment would it be used in? We can support a very wide range of applications, from simple recording through live/studio production to full 24x7 transmission environments (and a lot more!), so we would need to tailor the available functionality to your particular project.

Options for multi-site Transmission/Newsroom solutions

We've been looking at different options for group operation across multiple sites. We can provide a completely integrated solution for both Transmission/MCR and Newsroom, including scheduling and NRCS software and video server storage and input/output hardware - but there are still different ways in which that integrated system could be configured. For instance, each site could support its own MCR and studio production, or the group could operate a centralised model, with MCR and news production at the Hub, and only news gathering taking place at the Spoke sites.

The pack of drawings, attached, illustrates:

  • the QNews (NRCS) server structure for fully-centralised operation
  • an alternate QNews structure for distributed news production
  • a possible aVS (video server) configuration for centralised MCR and news operations
  • a modified aVS configuration supporting local news production
  • a possible aVS configuration for a single site, where MCR and NRCS are distributed
  • an alternative distributed model, where MCR and News storage is split at each site
  • an example of how individual aVS storage at different sites can appear as a single media volume - allowing clips to be scheduled before they exist in the required location and supporting automatic media movement and conversion

Of course, these are just a few examples - almost any configuration of storage, I/O and functionality is possible with our flexible systems.

Summary of new features for the QuBE

For NAB, we've been looking back at some of the new features and functions which have been added to the Broadcast Engine firmware over the last few months. The list is quite extensive!

  • RTMP streaming component, allowing an IP stream to be produced in parallel with the video output

  • NetStream, allowing a video input on one unit to appear as a video output on another, via a standard internet connection

  • FileStream, allowing a file to be transferred and played out on another unit, via the internet, even whilst recording is still in progress

  • NetFrame, providing real-time unit-to-unit transfers and virtual routing via a fast IP network

  • ScreenFeed application, enabling any window or screen on a PC to appear as a system input, without requiring external conversion

  • Pointer-based sub-clips, allowing sub-clips to be created by reference, almost instantly, as an alternative to creating new content

  • Still Store mode, providing playlist playback of selected still images, with stills keyed internally over a looping background

  • Extended Key+Fill support, allowing linked playout on standard I/O hardware

  • New ability to start transcoding as soon as recording has begun

  • New ability to initiate export as soon as transcoding has begun – allows the transfer to USB device to complete earlier

  • Alpha-channel transcoding, enabling creation of sub-clips for content with an alpha channel

  • Additional transcode features, enabling burnt-in timecode and audio down-mix to stereo to be included within the new clip

  • Program Part Recognition, enabling a long clip to be split automatically into program parts, based on identification of black breaks

  • Audio down-mix to stereo, for both main and preview outputs - for instance to enable review of clips on standard PC workstations

  • Manual audio level control on port outputs, allowing volume to be adjusted by the operator on-the-fly during playback

  • Automatic audio levelling, providing normalized output levels based on automatic analysis of each clip

  • AES support, providing AES input and output connections as an alternative to embedded audio

  • h.264 encoding, now available as a standard option at no additional charge

  • Auto-mask processor, providing automatic detection and replacement of specific on-screen elements (e.g. an incorrect graphic)

  • Auto-failover handling, providing detection of black, frozen, lost or silent inputs and automatic switching to backup/emergency sources

  • Talkback monitoring, allowing access to any audio source from any networked PC – soon to be extended to full intercom capability

  • HTTP interface, allowing system control and monitoring from any standard browser on any OS

New document packs available

We've updated two of our standard document packs, available for download using the links below:

- Company & Product range: provides information about our background and details of our products, especially the new Broadcast Engine (QuBE)

- System & Block Diagram examples: provides a set of drawings which illustrate different types of configurations, functions and processes possible with the QuBE


aQ at BroadcastShow Live

The aQ Production Suite was once again in use for the latest edition of BroadcastShow Live - the Christmas special - where Simon and Matt took over the presenting role at the last minute. We modified the caption templates to include the new BroadcastShow logo, decorated the set to add to the festive feel, operated the prompter for the first-time presenters and provided the vital role of filling and passing the box containing the competition entries! Another great show powered by aQ.

The episode can be viewed here: