User case (multichannel): A customer called us with special requirements

In September 2022 we got a call with an unusual request – a customer would like to run more than 20 channels and he would like to do this with a minimal amount of servers and a minimal amount of staff. TV channels will be musicals, movies, documentaries, etc., only video files with static TV Schedules, meaning no live, news, etc. They need to prepare the TV schedules 1 month in advance and for all to be fully automated, as he would like to run 20+ channels with a staff of 2 opérators only. He needs outputs in UDP DVB multicast, and to have as many channels on one server to reduce the costs.

The solution proposed was to use Ads Schedule Pro 2 (Traffic system) + DV Play playout. Ads Schedule Pro 2 (ASP2) is going to the planning of TV Channel schedules as they need an extremely efficient process. It includes MAM which keeps all the video files on a central server. DV Play Playout automatically downloads playlists and needed video files served by ASP2, allowing the use of distributed installation. A distributed installation means an ASP Central storage server in Sofia, Bulgaria, and playouts located somewhere around the world. TV Channels’ signal distribution will be mixed – while some playouts will be placed physically at the distribution center, other TV signals should be carried via the Internet via SRT.

So we accepted the challenge. Next 18 months we constantly improved our solutions in all possible directions, a very short list is as:

  • Supplements in Ads Schedule Pro to fit better playlist creation process. The final result is that once the templates & video files are set it takes less than 1 minute to schedule a 24 hours playlist.
  • DV Play playout DVB output was tuned and now it is 100% reliable and 100% DVB compatible. We had used a professional analyzer for 6 months.
  • DV Play playout has been always multichannel, but it is quite different to run 12 channels on a server than running up to 4 channels (like our previous customers). For example, you can run a load of new playlists at exactly 05:00 for 2 channels simultaneously, but doing so with 12 channels will overload the server. So we supplement many commands to wait for the previous channel to end current operations.
  • Adding new special commands that auto-fix the differences between the planned start time (20:00:00 for example) and the real-time playout (20:01:30 for example). The final result is that 99% of the program blocks start with a difference of less than 1 minute. There is a report for that in ASP.
  • Testing different hardware & configurations and finally, we end with 12 channels on a non-expensive server with 1x Profile (HD progressive or interlaced) and 10 channels with 2xProfiles (like HD and SD outputs).
  • Improvement in setting configurations of playouts, so maintenance & change of configurations could be done much faster & error-free.
  • Adding a new monitoring system. We used around 14 real & test servers and found it difficult to track all the issues on the servers. Hardware is under big stress with 12 channels on a server and we add many early warning events showing if hardware starts degrading (HDDs primary).

The final result is excellent and we have our next extremely happy customer. He can run 24 channels on 2 playout servers only (+2 servers for backup) and operate all 24 TV channels with 2 operators only. The 2 operators spend only a few hours every month to schedule the TV programs and most of their time is dedicated to searching and providing content (movies, songs, promos). The EPG is auto-created in XML TV format.

Ads Schedule Pro 2 + DV Play playout is the IDEAL solution for a customer willing to run efficiently many static TV Channels. Since March 2024 it has been fully ready to serve customers with such requirements and is, maybe, the most efficient solution worldwide for such cases.

DV Playout is truly a leader in efficiency and is a solution N1 for people who value their time.  Our playout is designed for maximum efficiency, and multichannel and provides true 24/7 reliability in different user cases, including running up to 12 channels on a single server.