q.air – general
Shared resources are features in q.air that can be applied to or utilized by different channels if more than one channel is booked for the respective q.air account. Shared resources can be asset storage, egress data volume, or live sources. While stream targets, stream recording, compliance recording are shared resources, too, they can only be assigned exclusively to one channel at a time.
Flexibility, scalability, and ease-of-use are key challenges for today. Media companies of any size do not want to deal with technically complex processes but want streamlined solutions that allow them to focus on their core creative competency of producing and distributing content. As a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, q.air meets these requirements by providing an adjustable number of required channels, uptime-hours, data volumes, stream sources and destinations, that also include social media platforms.
The possibilities can be extended by APIs for integration with 3rd party systems. Operating q.air is a breeze thanks to an intuitive and easy-to-use dashboard and interface that is precisely tailored to the workflow requirements for live streaming and playout. q.air automatically orchestrates all necessary technical resources and cloud software in terms of transcoding, traffic system, real-time graphics, recording, playout, and streaming.
By using qibb as the underlying management platform, q.air clients are not buying into a restricted service, but have the possibility to grow this cloud-based solution using a powerful managed platform where unlimited combinations of different media workflows can be built in a customized way. Going on air has become a lot faster with the fully pre-packaged and ready-for-use playout solution. q.air is scalable both up and down and flexibly adapts to the company’s needs so that clients never pay for more resources than they use. Moreover, the customizable and easy-to-use UI makes playout workflows simple and effortless.
All cloud computing resources required to run q.air are managed on demand by the qibb management platform in the cloud that is covered by the subscription.
A user of q.air requires a regular computer (PC or Mac) with a browser and internet connection. q.air and the underlying qibb platform officially support and are optimized for current versions of Google Chrome. It is recommended to only use this browser when working with qibb.
For the best experience of q.air, the following specifications a recommended:
- Latest version of Chrome
- 8 GB memory or above
- CPU equivalent to Intel i5 (quad core) and above
- Graphics and monitor that support a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and above
- Internet broadband connection
q.air is offered as a Software-as-a-Service 24/7 playout solution with a fixed monthly subscription and a pre-defined asset storage and egress data volume for your channel(s).
Alternatively, q.air can be subscribed as a pay-per-use model with an hourly-based pricing a pre-defined asset storage and egress data volume for your channel(s).
Additional costs added to the subscription fee are calculated by overage consumption of asset storage in the cloud, which depends on the quantity and size of the media assets, by egress data volume streamed to the internet that depends on the hours and bandwidth used during the playout, and by the overall capabilities of the playout channel (HD or UHD resolution, added options).
q.air is a package of carefully selected software components that are built from scratch to efficiently run on cloud computing resources. Resources in use include compute nodes, file servers, storage, databases, network infrastructure that are fully virtualized and support scalability and elasticity.
To remain flexible in respect of the utilized cloud provider and native toolsets, q.air leverages the power of the underlying management platform qibb, which acts as abstraction and orchestration layer for any cloud-based media workload that can be managed remotely via web interface.
q.air Standard provides access to the professional playout and automation capabilities of q.air with all-in-one playout solution in the cloud for one or more linear channels ranging from SD to UHD. q.air Standard already provides the whole workflow comprising file ingest, media asset management, live sources, resolution-independent realtime graphics, comprehensive scheduling, playout, streaming to different stream targets (websites, social media, head-ends) and provides options like stream and compliance recording. The capabilities of q.air Standard can be extended to 6 live sources and 6 stream targets per channel.
q.air Premium adds broadcast-grade features like asset and stream transcoding, format conversion, asset QC, mixed format support in one channel, subtitle embedding, SCTE-35 ad markers, loudness control, Dolby Audio codecs. These features can be enhanced by exclusive options for q.air Premium like 1+1 channel redundancy, stream recording in MXF and growing file support, fully managed OAuth-based target control for social media and associated scheduling of stream jobs, as well as unlimited booking of live sources and stream targets per channel.
q.air is a full-featured cloud-based channel playout and automation service to launch and manage numerous linear 24/7 and pop-up channels in record time. q.air combines all relevant assets like live sources and pre-recorded videos, graphics, etc. It provides a scheduled, continuous playback that may be streamed to head-ends for cable, satellite, IPTV, CDNs, or to websites and social media platforms. The content can reach viewers on TV, set-top box, or OTT devices like Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, mobile device, PC, Mac. It can be used for event channels of special interest groups, corporate TV channels, educational institutions, 24/7 channels for regional TV stations and virtual multichannel Video Programming Distributors (mVPD), multi-social-networks streamers like e-gaming, or as extension of a prime live channel to OTT devices.
As q.air is based on qibb, a scalable cloud management platform, there is no limit for the amount of live sources you can subscribe and manage. However, a single q.air Standard channel can access up to 6 live sources at once, while a single q.air Premium channel does not have such a limitation.
A live source in q.air is an IP-based stream with audio and video data in one of the supported protocols (SRT, RTMP, RTMPS, UDP) that can originate for example from a web cam or a studio with live mixing gear and streaming encoders.
A stream target in q.air is one designated IP destination for a linear media sequence produced by a channel. This can be a cross connection to a content delivery network (CDN) that distributes the media to end devices, a head-end with satellite uplink, cable network, DTT, IPTV, or simply a website with a media player.
As q.air is based on qibb – a managed and scalable cloud platform – there is no limit for the amount of channels you can subscribe and manage.
In a playout solution like q.air, a channel comprises all the necessary resources to put numerous media elements (video, audio, graphics) on air in a linear sequence. One channel may have several stream targets.
The service is remotely available via web browser since there is no on-premises playout hardware needed. The cloud resources are usually located in Europe and provide enough bandwidth for contribution and distribution of high-quality live signals.
q.air – ingest
q.air provides a traffic UI as built-in schedule editor that can be accessed separately from the playout automation UI via web browser to create playlists manually in advance. In contrast to traditional playout solutions, another software is not necessary.
q.air supports the following subtitle standards:
- Subtitle files: STL, WebVTT, SRT, EBU-TT, TTML
- Subtitle data in live streams: EBU-TT-D, FAB Public
q.air supports numerous combinations of the following standards:
- Video codecs: H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), XAVC, AVC-Ultra, AVC-Intra. XDCAM, MPEG-2, VP6, VP8, VP9
- Audio codecs: MPEG-1 L2, MPEG-2 L2, AAC-LC, HE-AAC (v1, v2), AC-3 (Dolby Digital), E-AC3 (Dolby Digital Plus), MP3
- Containers: MP4, MXF
It depends on your bandwidth for the upload and the data volume of your assets that is, for example, determined by number of items, quality, and duration of the media.
In the asset uploader UI, you get an overview of files in the upload queue.
Files can be uploaded by using the embedded browser-based file upload function or by using a q.air watchfolder with FTP, Aspera, Signiant, or any other AWS S3 file uploader tool.
q.air takes care of the files and generates thumbnails, proxy clips and metadata for its integrated asset management.
Yes, q.air natively supports SRT for live sources and stream targets.
q.air – live
Yes, q.air Standard channels can manage 2 to 6 live sources each, and q.air Premium channels manage from 6 to an unlimited amount of live sources depending on your subscription.
q.air allows to record streams with the optional stream recording feature that provides cue, rec, split, stop controls to generate clips out of any input or output stream. The content is stored either as MP4 files or in q.air Premium as MXF-based broadcast standard files for later use. Recorded content shows up in the media asset management of q.air and can be trimmed and scheduled for playout.
q.air performs the playout not only of prerecorded content but also live video sources. Any available live source can be scheduled in the traffic UI. The operator can control whether the content of one or many live sources will be shown, skipped, or shall end using the controls of the automation UI. Additionally, the operator can add secondary events like real-time graphics, EPG data, and SCTE-35 markers to the on-air live content.
Live source feeds can be delivered to the cloud using protocols like SRT, RTMP, RTMPS, RTSP/RTP, RTP over UDP, MPEG-TS over UDP.
q.air – playout
Yes, q.air Premium supports loudness correction to reach compliance with EBU Rec. 128 and CALM act for your channel.
Yes, the configurable single-stream-ouput of q.air is DVB/ATSC-compliant.
q.air supports YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitch, and any other platform using RTMP streams, as well as any platform using RTMPS streams.
q.air Premium additionally provides fully managed OAuth-based target control for social media and associated scheduling of stream jobs in a playlist.
Yes, q.safe is our disaster recovery product that can be purchased separately and run in a hot or warm standby mode depending on the needs for fastest take-over or lowest OPEX.
Yes, q.air provides full 1+1 redundancy with a backup playout channel for the main channel that can run 24/7.
For legal obligations, q.air optionally provides a compliance recording function per channel with burn-in timecode and a flexible retention period.
q.air – scheduling
The storage volume is virtually unlimited. Included data volumes in a subscription and storage top-ups help to easily plan the operational costs. Additionally, metering tools in the UI help you to keep track of the current storage allocation.
Yes, a user can build and change playlists in the traffic UI or during the rundown of a channel in the automation UI at any time. This includes last-minute changes (live sources, clips, graphics) with a show being “on air”. New media needs to be ingested and successfully processed for the playout node – thumbnails, preview clips and metadata are made available immediately.
This way, operators can not only make last-minute playlist changes, but they can launch any emergency video, provide updated breaking news tickers and graphics, skip or trigger events, postpone or cancel live events, swap advertisement clips, etc.