MediaHub had been monitoring the progress of the TAG VS monitoring system solution since seeing the product at NAB some time ago. The company then performed a PoC with in-depth internal system testing with TAG in preparation for the move to a COTS and IP based platform for future systems. They then went through an exhaustive RFP process for their master control room refresh project and the outcome of the process was that TAG was selected as the monitoring solution for their IP platform. The winner of the RFP, MediaHub’s TAG solution provider and technology partner was Magna Systems & Engineering.
“We needed continuous video service monitoring of uncompressed and compressed audio and video feeds, including captions, triggers, audio at low latency and high quality with API based alarming,” says MediaHub Australia Executive Head of Technology, Simon Scott. “We also had specific goals including that the system had to run in a COTS and IP environment. I’m happy to report that the TAG solution does all of the above.”
According to Scott the TAG solution is not only powerful and flexible but also very timely in today’s market. Working closely with Magna Systems Senior Solutions Specialist, Tim Banner, Scott was reassured that the TAG monitoring solution would meet all of MediaHub’s needs.
“TAG VS seem to have hit the industry at the right time and right place with the tools to fulfill all the needs of a traditional master control monitoring environment whilst also bringing it all up to the COTS and IP technology layer,” he adds. “One of their standout features is their ability to mix and match compressed, uncompressed and CDN-delivered source feeds into a single screen, to be able to monitor he full end-to-end delivery flow. This is a must for broadcasters as we are inevitably delivering to more and more endpoints.”
At MediaHub Australia video feeds are available as uncompressed multicast streams or CDN delivered feeds to the TAG system, and the TAG software is able to decode the steams at low latency and with high quality. The output from TAG (Mosaics) is sent as SMPTE-2110 uncompressed streams back to the IP video network. On the Network are AJA 2110 to HDMI decoders and these convert the TAG Mosaics back to HDMI to feeding into the monitoring screens in the MCR area. TAG also outputs a compressed stream so MediaHub is able to see the Mosaics on standard PCs on-site or remotely when working from home. This has come in handy during the current COVID situation.
“TAG has various alarms and penalty box monitoring configurations that meet the requirements of our MCR,” says Scott. “It also has API support, so alarm data is able to be aggregated by our manager of managers for historical trending and AI-based alarm processing and prediction. TAG met the desire of the business to retain all the benefits of a traditional hardware multiviewer but in a software, IP and COTS world. Low latency monitoring was a key requirement, as we didn’t want to go back in performance when moving to IP. As it is all software, TAG are able to build on additional features quickly to meet future new requirements.”
He added “As compute increases we are able to do more on a single server. For example, in 2018 we were able to test just 12 channels running on a single server output. Today we have a single COTS server, at lower purchase cost than a 2018 server that is running 40x uncompressed feeds and 96x compressed feeds with one UHD Mosaic output, one compressed HD Mosaic output, and one uncompressed HD Mosaic output. Today with the new Dell R650 Gen 15 server, which uses the high speed PCI4 bus, one TAG server can monitor over 100 uncompressed sources on multiple UHD mosaic outputs.”
In addition to the TAG solution, Magna Systems provided installation and design assistance, as well as support for the product locally and a key point of contact with TAG VS.
“MediaHub is an incredibly forward thinking company when it comes to technology,” says Magna Systems group sales and marketing manager, Paul Maroni. “They only settle for the very best and it’s clear that they enjoy great synergies with the TAG monitoring solution. The TAG monitoring solution is one of the leading IP Monitoring solutions of choice for customers across Australia and the globe. When you’re a company that focuses on one thing, you do it right. Magna Systems and Engineering are proud to partner with such a customer focused manufacturer as TAG.”
The TAG MCM-9000 supplied by Magna gives MediaHub a very scalable solution for monitoring many different broadcast scenarios. TAG also supports API control and alarming, allowing MediaHub to rely more on telemetry data to improve their quality-of-service for their clients as well as the efficiencies of monitoring by exception (penalty box monitoring).
“The simplicity of the TAG solution Magna provided was a winner,” concludes Scott. “There was no large installation, testing or onsite customization. It was as simple as plugging in a USB stick, which houses the software and OS and the server booted as a multiviewer. After a few minutes auto-detecting multicast feeds and assigning a layout you’re done, up and running. It is the fastest deployment we have seen of a product. It was literally plug and play.”