In Broadcast - February 2021 - 38

38

www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 11 - Issue 2 | February 2021

InStudio

2020 - The Year Remote
Became Reality
Remote Head-End Management
By: Ciro A. Noronha, Ph.D., Executive VP of Engineering...

B

roadcast was headed toward
remote operations for quite a
while, but sometime in March, more
precisely mid-March, what 'could
be' became 'what is' - quite literally
overnight. A pandemic unlike any
seen in the past century shuttered
shops, moved entire work forces to
home-based, and forced the media and
entertainment industry to embrace
and adjust to operating remotely. A
global population looked to their TV's
and mobile devices as a lifeline to stay
informed, educate themselves about
rules and regulations, and sometimes
for relief and amusement.
The situation called for head-ends to
be as close as possible to unmanned.
The ideal scenario, as well as the
biggest challenge, was accomplishing
every function and task without a
physical presence and that included
being able to control and test video
paths,
switch
in/out-processing
elements, and view and monitor every
signal.
This required low-latency,
high-quality contribution-grade audio/
video content to be transmitted
over the Internet and monitored
using consumer-grade devices such
as phones, tablets or computers.
Operators needed to be able to control
the head-end and see the results from
afar, in real-time.

Remote Head-End
Management
In order to provide full remote headend management, we need solutions
for all the actions and functions
performed by a local operator. These
are:
1.	The equipment needs to be
configured and monitored.
2.	Many functions require the
operator to assess the resulting video
(and possibly audio) content in real
time. One good example of this is
color correction: the operator may be
tweaking some controls and need to
" see " the results in real-time.

3.	 Sometimes it is necessary to just
look at the content using a consumergrade device, such as a phone or
tablet, for confidence monitoring.
4.	 At times there is a need to add
additional functions to a video path.
For example, if an SDR feed is being
ingested into an HDR workflow, it
needs to be inverse tone mapped to
HDR. A device with this capability will
need to be brought online in the path.
5.	 If there is a problem somewhere,
one usual step to address this problem
is to bring in test equipment. For
example, a pattern generator to test a
video path; an ancillary data monitor
to see how closed-captions are coming
in; and so on.
It turns out that all of these functions
are already available in one way or
another, and by carefully designing
your head-end, you can make all of
this happen today. This is illustrated
below.
Let us look at each of the functions
listed above and figure out how they
can be accomplished:
1. Remotely configuring the equipment:
this is the easiest on the list. Virtually
all equipment built in the last 20 years
is managed through a network (with
the possible exception of very simple
throw-down boxes). Once the device
has a network connection, it does not

matter if it is in the same room as the
operator or on the other side of the
planet.
2.	 Remotely watching video with
very low latency: this is where the
low-latency,
contribution-grade
transport protocols over the Internet
come to the rescue.
Proprietary
commercial solutions have existed
for many years. However, since 2018,
there is a common specification called
the Reliable Internet Stream Transport
(RIST), described in more detail
later. Cobalt encoders, such as the
9992-ENC and the 9223, support RIST
natively. The same is true for Cobalt
decoders, such as the 9992-DEC and
the 9990-DEC. The 9992 compression
line from Cobalt also includes low
latency modes, where the intrinsic
compression latency is minimized.
3.	 Making the content available to
consumer-grade devices: virtually all
consumer-grade devices support the
HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) protocol.
Having encoders in the plant with
support for HLS makes it possible to
monitor any feed using a phone or
tablet, from anywhere. HLS is a highlatency protocol, so it is not suitable
for control, but is definitely adequate
for remote monitoring. All Cobalt
encoders have native support for HLS.
The content can be served directly
from the encoder itself using a built-in
web server or pushed into an external

web server to support a larger number
of devices. Additionally, devices such
as multi-viewers can be used upstream
of the encoder to generate a mosaic
comprised of a number of sources,
allowing for simpler monitoring. The
Cobalt 9971 multi-viewer is an ideal
device for this purpose, being able to
support up to 18 inputs (all with 4K
capability) and two outputs (also with
4K capability).
4.	 Adding functions to the video
path: this is where an insightful headend design can bring all the functions
together. The " core " of the head-end
should be a video router of sufficient
capacity.
All the incoming feeds
terminate into this router, and all the
outgoing feeds emanate from this
router. This can be an SDI router for
head-ends that use baseband SDI, or
it can be a large switch for head-ends
based on SMPTE 2110 flows. For SDI
signals, the Cobalt 9942-RTR router is
a good option. Processing elements,
which operate " in-line " with a video
signal, can be connected as generic
resources to the video router, as
indicated in the diagram below. This
way, they can be pre-configured
and " switched in " as needed. This
becomes even more interesting if
such processing elements are generic
or multi-function - i.e., if the same
element can be a frame synchronizer,
color corrector, HDR processor,


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In Broadcast - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - February 2021

Contents
In Broadcast - February 2021 - Intro
In Broadcast - February 2021 - Cover1
In Broadcast - February 2021 - Cover2
In Broadcast - February 2021 - Contents
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 4
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 5
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 6
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 7
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 8
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 9
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 10
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 11
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 12
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 13
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 14
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 15
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 16
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 17
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 18
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 19
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 20
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 21
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 22
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 23
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 24
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 25
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 26
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 27
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 28
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 29
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 30
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 31
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 32
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 33
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 34
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 35
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 36
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 37
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 38
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 39
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 40
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 41
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 42
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 43
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 44
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 45
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 46
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 47
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 48
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 49
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 50
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 51
In Broadcast - February 2021 - 52
In Broadcast - February 2021 - Cover3
In Broadcast - February 2021 - Cover4
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_202102
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_INREVIEW2016
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOWNYexpo
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_20110708_DEMO
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC03
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201605
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_NABSHOW2016
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201604
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_cabsat2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201602
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC02
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201512
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_CCW15expo
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/lesommet/inbroadcast_APAC01
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_201509
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/lesommet/inbroadcast_IBC2015
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