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TAG – Monitoring the present, visualizing the future

VueTech News: TAG – Giving broadcasters the edge they needed to not only survive, but to thrive

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TAG - Monitoring the present, visualizing the future
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Visionary (adjective): having or showing clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future

TAG – Monitoring the present, visualizing the future – It would seem that TAG Video Systems is a perfect example of a visionary. While the world scrambled to adjust and cope with a pandemic, the likes of which hadn’t been seen in over a century, the technical, business and operational ideas and innovations that TAG was built upon over thirteen years ago kicked into high gear – giving broadcasters the edge they needed to not only survive, but to thrive.

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Live Production – from Afar

Live production was heavily impacted by the past 18 months, having to transition to remote operations practically overnight. TAG’s 100% software based integrated IP multiviewing, probing and monitoring  platform – an industry first, was already supporting all emerging technologies such as Cloud and IP and managing all major industry standards including compressed, SMPTE 2110, 2022-6/7, JPEG 2000, MPEG TS, DASH, HLS, CMAF and now even JPEG XS. This combination of capabilities enabled broadcasters to easily transition to remote production during a time of heightened news and media consumption when in-person operations were impossible but monitoring signal integrity was critical for global operations to continue uninterrupted.  

No Rest for Success

TAG has been 100% IP since the company was founded in 2008 and likes to think that the industry is finally catching up with them, but they also know that users are always looking for more flexibility.  So, although Multiviewer technology has been slowly moving toward IP and 2110, and TAG has been there for years along with the ability to monitor all the different formats in one platform, they’ve recently added functionalities and features that provide unprecedented broad and deep integration across entire workflows, both traditional and evolving. 

Already offering all capabilities in the cloud, TAG’s move to incorporate JPEG-XS and AWS CDI cloud transport into the product could not have been more timely with JPEG-XS emerging as the premier transport for production video in hybrid environments, and CDI is coming to the forefront for high-bandwidth production streams in the cloud. TAG also recently added an option to manually record instances of OTT channels as needed, and support for Sony’s Hawk-Eye, Dolby Atmos® encoded audio, and Irdeto Key Management System (KMS) decryption.

Industry Firsts – a Zer0 Friction Experience

Not to ignore the business end of operations, TAG takes broadcast technology to the next level with its Zer0 Friction strategy – another first.  Zer0 Friction allows clients the operational agility to manage TAG’s software across applications and locations leveraging COTS and Cloud platforms and maximizing asset utilization. Zero Friction breaks down the traditional barriers across a truly digital workflow to provide an unprecedented customer experience

“For years the industry has expressed concerns about the low utilization of broadcast technology,” stated TAG’s Zero Friction Officer Kevin Joyce.

“In many cases systems are being used less than 30% of the time.  With Zer0 Friction TAG’s customers are no longer restricted in how they use our multi-functional applications, where they use them across their ecosystem, or when they use them. Broadcasters can now use a Multiviewer for live production in a facility in London and as soon as they are done, apply the license to probe for errors in an OTT facility in New York. Finally, the clients will be unrestricted operationally and financially to deliver the best possible content to consumers with…… Zer0 Friction.”

Added Joyce,  “As a software only company we are able to deploy our technology and have customers up and running in minutes. Support is handled remotely, and all software upgrades are delivered remotely on a continuous basis.  This is what clients have always wanted and we are now taking this to the next level with Zer0 Friction.”

Next Stop: Japan

NBC Olympics, a division of the NBC Sports Group, has selected TAG Video Systems to provide OTT monitoring and multiviewing for its production of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, which take place in Tokyo, Japan, from July 23 – August 8. TAG is providing NBC Olympics with an integrated software-based IP probing, monitoring and Multiviewer solution to monitor MPEG Transport Streams originating in Tokyo, which are then logged, categorized and archived in NBC Sports’ International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. The system will run on true COTS off-the-shelf servers and give NBC Olympics the ability to view metrics and evaluate the health of the signals every step of the way. It will also allow NBC Olympics the flexibility to custom configure the broadcasts on its Multiviewers to fit any desired scenario. 

“Like athletes, being selected to participate in the Olympic Games with NBC Olympics is the ultimate achievement, an indication of strength, flexibility and ability,” said Joyce. “There is zero room for error during the two-plus weeks of competition, and we are honored to work with NBC Olympics to bring the fans the greatest experience possible.”

Looking ahead

Today TAG supports over 40,000 channels across the four primary broadcasting applications – Live Production, Playout/Master Control, Distribution and OTT. The company is expanding its horizons, however, to support the complex, multi layered environments of Esports productions. On the Multiviewer and monitoring side, most gaming productions require the ability to work in the cloud, customizable interfaces for dispersed workforces and, of course, the ability to monitor signals from production to delivery and ensure the highest level of quality for maximum engagement. A perfect fit.

TAG is also currently participating in the EU-funded Virtuosa project that is exploring how 5G combined with virtualization concepts can enable live content to be produced more efficiently and cost-effectively across diverse locations. As the company moves forward it is sensitive to the to shift to the Cloud and from CAPEX to OPEX and  the associated cost structures and is advancing its licensing models to offer ultimate cloud scale and flexibility. Combined with TAG’s software-only, all IP, ground / cloud / hybrid platform and continuously evolving capabilities of format and transport support, deep probing and monitoring, flexible multiview visualization and vast scalability, this licensing model will allow cost optimization of all applications while having access to the richest set of tools available.


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