Station-Group/Network Monitoring

Actus Digital’s largest US customer is a group of about six-dozen stations that have deployed Actus edge systems for QoS monitoring and FCC compliance.

Their engineers love the comprehensive Actus toolset and low-latency multiviewers that display return feeds from all markets onto large-screen multiviewers in their station-group operation center that show all primary channels and highlight any violating tight QoS parameters for frozen/missing video, missing/low/high audio, etc., as well as FCC compliance for missing CC or CALM Act violations.

Pods dedicated to portions of the country are manned by operators that use the Actus system for TS analysis, confirming SCTE trigger and NAVE code accuracy, and to research issues and collaborate with engineers from other shifts, making notes tagged to content for things such as ‘Make Good required’.

Whenever required, they export video files with overlaid channel name, date/timecode, captions, LKFS values, etc., enabling them to reply to FCC and viewer inquiries.

Actus systems were deployed at all stations in 2020 and in 2021 the Network deployed Actus infrastructure to monitor the distribution of programming.


Small-Station Monitoring

The greatest quantity of Actus customers are smaller stations that deploy Actus for an almost identical use-case, only for a single MPTS delivered in their local market.

With the quantity and type of inputs and probe-points customized for each station, each can deploy a configuration with the features that most benefit them.

In addition to the ATSC-1/3.0 OTA feeds, many of these stations also monitor the Transport Stream on the way to the transmitter (via ASI or IP), HDMI returns from Set-Top Boxes, and/or HLS and other OTT simulcast feeds from IP.

The new V8 Actus multiviewer includes Actus Synchro shortcuts that quickly pinpoint where issues enter the workflow so they can be quickly remedied.

One of the Actus benefits most appreciated by stations are the graphs and displays of SCTE triggers with detailed information that allows them to ensure proper downstream ad-insertion.

This saves them money because when SCTE triggers are improperly formatted or missed altogether, distribution partners don’t pay for those ads, directly impacting their bottom line.

While the use-case explored in this article is by far the most common reason for investment in an Actus system, many of these stations provide access to the rest of their organization and deploy one or more of the other use-cases… which shall be further explored in the subsequent three articles in this series.