Qatar News Agency recently commissioned artec technologies AG to provide a new TV/radio recording and information system. BroadcastPro ME brings you some exclusive details German-based artec technologies has been contracted to provide a new TV/radio solution for a major news agency in Qatar. The system will enable the agencys editors to generate and evaluate information […]
German-based artec technologies has been contracted to provide a new TV/radio solution for a major news agency in Qatar. The system will enable the agencys editors to generate and evaluate information from more than 200 TV and radio broadcasters and then forward them onto the countrys governmental agencies and dignitaries in real time.
Prior to this deployment, the news agency had a daunting challenge ahead of it. It needed to ingest content from a large number of sources from around the world, catalogue it and evaluate it.
Its clients, including government departments as well as blue-chip businesses wanted the information as quickly as possible. With business and political intelligence, time is of the essence. Besides the challenge of recording the content, the agency also had to use incoming metadata to filter the content, and do so immediately.
It required a system that could provide simultaneous access for multiple editors at the agency, who could prepare and package the content, and add metadata. Finally, the reports and packaged stories needed to be directly available on the desktops of the agencys clients.
It was clear that the solution lay in a networked system based on compact file storage, and using web services for access. Developing a system from scratch would have been difficult and time-consuming. Instead the agency turned to German developer artec technologies, which has previously supplied them with a TV/radio broadcast solution.
Thomas Hoffmann, member of artecs Board of Directors, says the German firm has provided the news agency with “state-of-the-art technologies since 2006”.
“This present expansion demonstrates their continuing confidence in our products and system solutions. At present, this has led to a contract volume of USD 2.6 million.”
Artecs XENTAURIX Broadcast system is a modular IP recording system that is designed to be highly flexible, reflecting the way in which it is called upon to meet a range of applications. The logger units are capable of recording in any quality format from browse resolution to full 1080p HD. Secure capacity can be expanded up to 16TB through a Raid 5 server array.
Special functionality in the platform includes artecs patented CVOD technology, which enables network-based time shifted playback.
“This creates a new audio-visual archive with virtually unlimited capacity,” says Ingo Hoffmann, CTO of artec technologies, “a kind of Google for television, a television time machine. It is as applicable to reality television and docu-soaps as it is to environmental and traffic surveillance video.
“Online monitoring and editing is creating millions of hours of video which are directly accessible, and which can now be searched. You cannot travel through space with our television time machine but you can travel through time to any point for instant, frame accurate playback.”
The developer also specifically envisaged applications for the technology such as compliance recording, where the output of multiple channels must be stored for a period of months after transmission, and available for simple search and recovery.
The same system can be applied for this application. The output of the channels which the agency monitors more than 200 television and radio channels from around the world is recorded. Where metadata is transmitted along with the video and audio, it too is captured. The delivered metadata, and further information entered by the agencys monitors, is searchable for analytics as well as for identifying particular pieces of content.
One of the best ways of building descriptive metadata is to transcribe the spoken content. XENTAURIX has the ability to implement speech-to-text translation, which will greatly add to the searchable information.
The mass of news material captured by the system can then be searched by keywords and content. Clips can be taken from larger pieces of content, and edited together using built-in functionality. Researchers can also create a storyboard to which audio and video recordings are attached to create a package to meet a clients expectations. These packages can be stored or delivered in various formats.
Because the access is developed using web services, it is simple to customise the user interface to meet the specific needs. Staff using regular workflows can create their own screen layouts and functionality, which can be stored centrally, so wherever the user logs on the interface will be right.
That also leads to one of the important new facilities recently added by artec technologies the ability to use the system from mobile devices. Through apps for all common smartphones and tablets from Apple, Samsung and others, a closed user group can access the functionality.
The mobile devices can be used as players, so clients anywhere can pick up important content from the agency, either pushed by an editor or time-shifted. Users can also search through the content archive and call up other broadcasts, to be displayed on the mobile device in seconds.
Individual clients of the agency, who may be members of the government or senior executives, can also access content in their personalised folders, via the internet to view on standard television sets and smart TVs. When these VIPs are travelling, they can still access content relevant to them from remote offices, hotels and holiday residences, with the same level of interactivity and security they routinely expect.
The core hardware for the system is a modular server developed by artec technologies. Each 1U box records up to eight television or radio channels, with the complete stream captured for a preset time period of 10 to 200 days. Packages which the news agency staff create and mark for archiving are kept permanently.
Individual modules are built up to achieve the capacity required. This installation is presently configured for more than 200 channels, but can be expanded at any time. As well as searching on the metadata, users can jump to a point in time and scroll backwards and forwards to identify the required content. Frame accurate playback is achieved on a standard browser without the need for plug-ins or Active-X functionality.
The solution meets the practical needs of the news agency. It allows them to scan and digest the worlds news sources, and present the relevant information to its clients with minimal time delay, helping them to make the best business and political decisions.
CTO Ingo Hoffman, who is also the creator of the solution, says artec is “creating new impulses for the broadcasting market” with its technology.
“In effect, our system is a highly modern, multichannel network video recorder which records TV around the clock in brilliant quality. With this system, you never need to miss a broadcast. Video recorders and programming are things of the past.
“With XENTAURIX, viewers can watch and hear whatever, whenever, wherever they want. It will just be a matter of time until TV broadcasters provide time-shifted television around the clock for extended periods of time.
“The Qatar news agency is already able to record all programmes without gaps for 180 days and then locate content immediately. Storage capacity can be expanded at any time. Then you will have access to an online archive for years to come,” Hoffmann concludes.