Advanced Television

Crystal introduces Crystal Metadata Cloud

October 10, 2017

At NAB Show New York on October 18th, Crystal launches the Crystal Metadata Cloud, a patent-pending software technology to provide frame-accurate synchronisation of metadata with video and audio at any point in the distribution chain from the cable headend or DTH platform to the set-top box, computer, phone or tablet.

Metadata has become critical to delivering video content and advertising over-the-top and absolutely required in traditional linear broadcast. SCTE standards exist, however the content producers still utilise the standard without consistency. The breakdown occurs when the same SCTE message is used by two different content producers to trigger completely different actions. Metadata is often corrupted in transmission, which renders it useless, so; Crystal has coined its own description of the situation – “the metadata mess” – and offers Crystal Metadata Cloud as the solution.

Crystal Metadata Cloud solves the dilemma of metadata management using patent-pending Temporal Fingerprint technology to transmit metadata out-of-band from the video and audio content, and re-synchronise it on a frame-accurate basis with the content wherever required in the downstream distribution chain. As a complement to SCTE messaging, Crystal Metadata Cloud ensures consistency and survivability of the metadata from origination to reception. The out-of-band messaging, carried by the public Internet or private network, requires minimal bandwidth, and maintains a light footprint in the set-top box or mobile device to avoid excessive processing overhead.

Utilizing Metadata Cloud technology allows content providers to identify the start and end of each content segment with frame-accurate precision and to encode contextual data into it.  Multichannel video programme distributors (MVPDs) downstream can now reliably and dynamically replace content for rights management, dynamically insert ads and provide addressable advertising at the set-top box or mobile device. The patent-pending technology also enables the creation of an accurate and dynamically updated electronic program guide.

Crystal Metadata Cloud makes it possible to synchronise television content with a second-screen application through algorithmic identification of content being watched. A children’s programme could invite viewers to interact on a tablet with content playing at the same time on their televisions, for example, or adult viewers could interact with TV content through social media.

Crystal Metadata Cloud also performs extremely accurate measurement of transmission delay at each point in the chain. That enables the distribution network to detect lip-synch problems and remedy them automatically, as well as making possible an audit of exactly what video and audio reaches any point in the distribution chain.

” Crystal Metadata Cloud is the culmination of more than thirty years of work in the monitor, control, and automation of video delivery,” said Crystal president Roger Franklin. “We believe it is a game-changer for end-to-end control of content, advertising, and monetisation across today’s diverse television distribution environment. Currently metadata in video is a mess, and it is time for something better to take its place. That something better is Crystal’s Crystal Metadata Cloud.”

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