The Challenge of Quality Control
We all know that Quality Control, better known as QC, is a critical part of the video processing workflow. After all, poor picture or audio quality can turn off viewers and result in lower subscription rates, and low-quality commercial playout can lead to lost revenue. Also, compliance issues that result in content being sent back for repair can add unnecessary costs to your operation. Taken together, these challenges will almost certainly have a serious impact on your bottom line.
In the past QC was a subjective, manual process, demanding many man-hours to pore over the content leaving your facility. Humans are not perfect, of course, nor can they easily look for anomalies within the file itself. In other words, video, audio, and metadata errors can slip past the best of engineers. From a practical standpoint, human-powered QC does not scale well either.
There’s also the need to stay on top of the growing number of video codecs, standards, and streaming protocols. Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) is the current standard for live adaptive bitrate video streaming, as it addresses the primary challenges associated with delivering content to the myriad of devices, players, and set-top boxes in use today, but MPEG-DASH is gaining ground.
Video codecs to consider include H.264/AVC, H.265/HEVC, and VP9. Don’t forget audio formats such as Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), Pro Logic, Pro Logic 2, AAC, HE-AAC, and HE-AACv2. The various formats for high dynamic range (HDR), digital rights management (DRM), and closed captioning are additional considerations.
As your business grows and your output scales upward, assuring video quality and conformance with so many different formats becomes more critical than ever.
The simple fact is that it’s tough to keep up with the pace and rigors required to validate all of your premium content. It can also be prohibitively expensive.
In the last Industry Spotlight, we introduced you to Encoding.com, a provider of high-volume, cloud-based VOD processing, and packaging services. With more than one trillion API requests processed and a billion videos encoded, Encoding.com stands as the world’s largest and most trusted provider of high-volume, cloud-based video processing services.
The company pioneered transcoding-as-a-service more than a decade ago, and today calls many of the world’s leading Media & Entertainment companies its clients, including NBCUniversal, BBC, WarnerMedia, Discovery, and Fox.
Encoding.com offers an array of VOD-focused microservices for file-based broadcast and OTT content delivery, including broad I/O format support, CableLabs packaging, DRM, DAI, Neilsen watermarking, advanced audio, and closed captioning. Automated QC-as-a-service is one of its more essential capabilities.
When you use Encoding.com, you no longer need to purchase and manage expensive on-premise QC infrastructure or rely on human QC operators. In their place, you gain fully automated QC job management and reporting via the Encoding.com API.
By integrating content validation into the scalable Encoding.com cloud service, many types of errors — whether visible or not — can be automatically detected and repaired as part of the processing workflow. The result is more consistently excellent video delivery.
Fast, Accurate Video Validation
The Encoding.com API works with your CMS, MAM, or DAM platform of choice, enabling fast and affordable QC for all production and broadcast operations. More than 50 individual validations can be performed simultaneously with your transcoding and packaging. Alternatively, you can use Encoding.com as a standalone QC service on assets that have already been processed.
Unlike commercial solutions, Encoding.com’s QC service processes content directly on the outputting instances and does not require separate licensing or infrastructure. This greatly decreases costs and the time between asset production and compliance verification, which, in turn, increases the probability that your video will pass muster once you send it out.
All requested QC checks are performed on the same compute node as your transcoding and packaging to save time, friction, and money compared to manual transfers of media to a separate QC system. In the time it takes to transfer content to your destination, you can now generate complete QC reports without increasing total job time.
The Encoding.com platform enables video asset protection across a wide range of mobile, desktop, IPTV, and OTT devices. Tests are available for all video content that conforms to CMAF DASH/HLS and HLS TS standards. Some of the available validations are:
- General: output size, duration, bitrate, captions, file size.
- Video: frame rates, codecs, aspect ratio, level.
- Audio: bitrate, codec, channels, channel layout.
- Manifest: version numbers, declarations, encryption, discontinuity tags.
Encoding.com’s API templates make running an automated test very straightforward. Here’s a template example for XML requests:
For JSON requests:
Automated QC with Encoding.com is a great way to save time and money and to future-proof your video processing workflow. You can even try it for free with one of your own files.
You can find the complete list of available validation tests on Encoding.com’s Automated QC datasheet. If you want to learn more or get in touch with an Encoding.com representative, simply fill out their Contact Form and someone will get back to you.
Thanks for reading this edition of Industry Spotlight. Come back next month for another look at the best available technologies for your OTT workflow.
This is a sponsored post from Encoding.com. For more details, please contact OTTVerse.com.
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