In its largest U.S. broadcast project to date, Qligent has initiated deployment of an enterprise-level Vision Compliance Monitoring and Analysis solution on behalf of Sinclair Broadcast Group (NASDAQ: SBGI), one of the largest and most diversified broadcasting companies in the country. The Qligent Vision system, scheduled for roll out through Q1 2020, will support QoS/QoE, compliance and transmission monitoring across 191 TV stations in 89 markets, covering more than 600 channels of programming.
Sinclair’s Qligent Vision solution is a hybrid architecture that brings cloud and on-premise elements together, providing a centralized portal for compliance monitoring and data aggregation in the cloud. In addition, there is a user interface to manage all associated applications including compliance content storage, access and repurposing. Sinclair is partnering with Wasabi Cloud Storage to accommodate the compliance content storage requirements.
The on-premise hardware includes Qligent Vision monitoring probes to accommodate compliance and QoS/QoE monitoring. For example, the Vision probes will ingest ASI, IP and RF signals, initiate high-resolution recording, and transfer content to the cloud for compliance monitoring and recording. The probes will also monitor Sinclair’s transmitters and RF facility management systems via SNMP. The on-premise system leverages off-the-shelf servers to house the probes, lowering costs network-wide.
“Our hybrid Vision solution offers an ideal platform for broadcast and video service networks tasked with managing a large number of channels, services and delivery platforms,” said John Shoemaker, Director of Sales, Qligent. “This hybrid solution ensures that signal quality and integrity is optimized by maintaining native formats and resolutions through the chain, while also providing the most cost-efficient architecture for a system of this scale. Furthermore, our cloud scalability means that adding a new station to the network is as simple as adding a probe to our server environment, without any added hardware expense or complex configuration in the cloud.”
The Qligent team worked closely with Sinclair engineers to customize elements of the Vision architecture to address their requirements – a key factor in Sinclair’s decision. Qligent’s successful deployments with large broadcasters, MVPDs and OTT service providers around the world also factored into Sinclair’s choice, as did total cost of ownership. That includes Qligent’s unique value proposition of offering unlimited seat licenses, which pays increasing dividends as new users and stations are added to the system.
“Qligent has been a true partner for Sinclair, working diligently to ensure their feature set and system architecture aligned with our goals of minimizing on-premise hardware, centralizing data aggregation and leveraging cloud-based management, which collectively make Vision a great choice,” said Mike Kralec, VP Technical Operations and Deputy CTO, Sinclair Broadcast Group. “They ensured that our licensing not only matched our deployment model, but also provided a low total cost of ownership, ensured our training and change-management concerns were addressed, and that simple scalability and resiliency goals were accounted for. We see this as a critical tool for enabling data-driven operational decision making well into the future.”
Shoemaker emphasizes the value of content repurposing, which allows local TV stations to quickly create clips of previously recorded programming, and natively transfer those clips to playout systems. As an example, Sinclair operators can create a clip from a morning or afternoon newscast, and create promos for the station’s evening news programs.
The compliance monitoring application will cover a broad range of applications, including closed captioning, audio loudness and SCTE digital program insertion triggers. The latter addresses compliance monitoring for local commercials or short-form clips inserted into national broadcasts.
Qligent’s standard QoS/QoE monitoring will ensure that Sinclair operators can seamlessly aggregate, analyze and troubleshoot all data relevant to broadcast performance. This includes signals moving through physical and transport layers within the infrastructure, and how the quality of the transmitted content affects the quality of the viewer’s experience.