QTx - Transmission Playout Scheduling and Control: the AirChain
The term ‘automation’ is broad, and covers a variety of functions. Historically, specific software packages have been used to manage different automation applications, and have frequently relied on other systems to provide the schedule information. The aQ software has been designed to incorporate scheduling and control functions into one integrated application and to handle different types of automation requirements.
The most common use of automation is to provide some level of device automation at transmission time, based upon information within a specified running order. The aQ software actually provides two types of automation – news and transmission. News Automation - the ACC - will often be used during live programmes, allowing studio links to be interspersed with recorded packages and simplifying control of devices such as character generators and still stores. This style of operation relies on human intervention, to start video playing or to fade in a caption, for instance. Transmission Automation - the AirChain - provides a flexible, automatic way to manage programme output which is entirely, or mostly, pre-recorded. This type of control provides similar features to the ACC, in terms of the devices it can manage and the way in which it can operate, but can deal with events at a programme level rather than just an item level. However, it must be stressed that although there are two different ‘modes’ of automation control, there is a great deal of overlap in the way that aQ software handles the processes and the operator is free to switch from one to another as required.
QTx - aQ Transmission Automation software
QTx is a comprehensive, multi-channel, master control automation system that allows extensive scheduling and transmission control for any kind of single- or multi-channel terrestrial, cable or satellite broadcast operation.
An integrated scheduling and transmission control solution QTx builds on the standard features of the QSeries range to provide a multi-user transmission system with a common user interface. It allows for flexible deployment of scheduling and control functions, with real-time automation information available at every workstation.
Simple expansion to multi-channel control A QTx module running under the Windows Operating System provides overall control for single channel transmission. Further channels simply require their own additional modules; no other part of the system needs to be changed.
Control of all kinds of video servers, CG’s, still stores, DVEs, switchers, and routers The QTx device controller can handle anything that supports remote control, whether by direct serial connection, network connection or GPI triggering.
Legacy integration with standalone VTRs and cart machines QTx handles cart machines and manual VT machine stacks, as well as non-linear disk-based playback devices.
Hybrid transmission control of both non-linear and tape-based devices Depending on the type of program output, it can be inefficient to transfer all material to a video server for transmission. QTX can provide a hybrid playout solution based on a mixture of video servers and tape machines.
Warning of, and correction for, timing problems Every event in the transmission list is checked continuously to ensure it is valid. Warnings are given about invalid time codes, missing material and failed devices. Overall play list durations are kept up-to-date, with planned and actual variations highlighted. Individual events can be scheduled to occur at fixed times, regardless of preceding over- or under-runs.
Relevant status feedback for all users All users are able to see detailed status about the current transmission, not just those in Transmission Control.
Extensive, integrated tape library facilities The QSeries includes a tape library, available for use with QTx and other product modules. The library allows detailed information to be stored about individual tapes and individual items. All information is fully indexed, providing extremely fast searching. The extensive facilities include the ability to check tapes in and out, keeping track of where each one is.
Additional QTx Features;
- Integrated control without dependence on third party software or systems
- Simple expansion to multi-channel control
- Controls for all kinds of video servers
- Legacy integration with stand-alone VTRs and cart machines
- Hybrid transmission control of non-linear and tape-based devices
- Integration with caption generators, still stores, DVEs, switchers, routers, mixers and logo generators
- Better than 10 millisecond event accuracy without special hardware
- Multi-user scheduling
- Completely integrated news and transmission automation
- Timing and status details available to all users
- Extensive, integrated tape library
- High and low resolution browsing with thumbnails
- Integrated acquisition control
- Custom database server redundancy without special hardware
- Highly configurable user interface
- True multilingual capability
- Integrated scripting and prompting