Encompass Digital Media, a leader in digital media services, owns and operates state-of-the-art, broadcast facilities throughout the U.K., U.S., and Asia. Our mission-critical, media services provide broadcasters, cable networks, corporations, and government entities with customized solutions for the management and distribution of content.
Our playout facilities are responsible for originating over 20,000 hours of television every day. As part of this service, we monitor and record transmission and off-air return signals not only to ensure our clients’ regulatory compliance, but also to facilitate fast validation of service quality or content.
Encompass’ Central London facility in the UK is currently undergoing major development and investment as a result in the growth of our client base and the services that we offer. The Volicon Observer digital video monitoring and logging system has featured heavily in our developments, building on our experience with the product over the past two years.
The Observer system is a compact and highly reliable system that deploys easily, but usability is its most valuable feature. We maintain 90 days of recording both for outgoing transmissions and our off-air return, and where necessary for compliance, we also maintain surround sound and stereo. The system provides clear high-resolution pictures and the very low latency makes it very responsive as users select the channel they wish to view. Recorded content loads instantly, and commands such as “play” and “stop” are immediate, without a pause.
Internally, we use content recorded by the Volicon system to check aired video and audio if any questions are raised about content or the signal itself. With remote desktop access to recorded content, we can quickly check our services and determine that signals are valid, thus protecting the integrity of our services and demonstrating that we performed our role as required. If the need should arise, we also can use the Observer interface to extract a clip for delivery to Ofcom for review.
Our clients depend on the Observer system to improve the look and feel of content such as promos. Also accessing recorded content through a simple browser-based interface, these clients can step through video –recorded at half of full resolution – and examine it frame by frame. The speed with which we can export clips from recorded content is possibly the greatest advantage we’ve gained with the Observer system. When clients come to us with an inquiry, we need to extract the appropriate recording as quickly as possible.
Using the Volicon system, we’ve been able to cut work that once took days down to just minutes. This change in workflow improves our responsiveness to our clients and our overall service quality. With fast access to recorded material, our engineering staff can tackle any issues immediately – helped by our monitoring and logging technology.
Gary Finnerty is Senior Solutions Manager at Encompass Digital Media.
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