Money Today Media Group is the fastest-growing media organization in South Korea, specializing in financial and economic news. The group comprises 20 subsidiaries and media channels—the prime among them being Money Today Networks (MTN). MTN broadcasts global and local financial market analyses and metrics through cable TV, IPTV, and the web. The network streams video around the clock to provide their viewers with the most up to date financial news—crucial for making informed decisions. Primarily targeted towards individual investors, MTN reaches 15 million households.
For close to eight years, MTN used a combination of hardware and software to live stream and record broadcasts for video on demand (VOD). This setup required the use of bulky computer equipment, which demanded a lot of time and resources to ensure they were operating correctly. Looking to minimize equipment and system maintenance, while improving video quality, MTN decided to upgrade their entire system setup.
A sound investment
TaenamDVI, an A/V integrator, worked closely with MTN to help improve their workflow, and recommended the Matrox® Monarch HDX dual-channel streaming and recording appliance. The encoder exceeded their expectations. Monarch HDX was easy to install, took up little real estate to store—reducing unnecessary clutter and wiring—and required less staff to manage than their previous setup. MTN tested other options at the same time, but none could match Monarch HDX in terms of performance, stability, usability, and scalability.
MTN’s studio is equipped with six Monarch HDX H.264 encoder appliances—two for live streaming, three dedicated to VOD, and the sixth is used to stream and record simultaneously.
Using a Sony® camera, 1080 video is transmitted to Monarch HDX, while sound is captured with a CRESTAUDIO audio mixer via Monarch HDX’s analog audio input. The two Monarch HDX appliances dedicated to live streaming each use both their encoding channels to transmit high-quality 1080p 30fps webcasts at 5 Mbps, and lower quality 480p 30fps webcasts at 1 Mbps. Streams are then sent to GABIA (a Korean CDN), YouTube, and Wowza Streaming Engine™, as well as MTN’s own Flash Player to be viewed directly from their website.
Simultaneously, each day’s broadcasts are set to record for VOD at a higher quality than the streams. For redundancy, three Monarch HDX devices record 1080p 30fps at 10 Mbps throughout the day. The Monarch appliances back up the recordings to the network attached storage (NAS) every 30 minutes to an hour using the Monarch HDX’s split file feature, but video can also be saved to an SD card or USB. This feature ensures that the majority of content will be preserved in the case of an unexpected event, such as a power failure.
Entire programs are sometimes uploaded for VOD, but primarily viewers are only interested in a specific news segment or stock update. To shorten news items for VOD, a MTN editor copies the files stored on the NAS, and edits them into individual segments using Adobe Premiere®. MTN then uses their own content management system, which was developed using Monarch’s API found in Monarch HDX’s Dev Tools, to upload the videos to GABIA and YouTube.
The MTN management application keeps operations on all the devices running smoothly. Through the application, administrators can take advantage of all the functionality built into the Monarch software such as view the status of all Monarch HDX devices, receive mobile notification status alerts, and schedule the devices to automatically reboot or start and stop recording at specified times.
Return on investment
Since introducing Monarch HDX to MTN’s workflow, video quality has improved significantly resulting in positive feedback from the network’s viewership. Dual-channel streaming at different bitrates and to different destinations gives thousands of simultaneous viewers the ability to watch in the best quality possible based on their network bandwidth, viewing device, and chosen viewing platform. Due to Monarch HDX’s small footprint, IT administrators are able to manage and maintain the appliance with ease, especially when compared to their previous setup.
Though the Monarch HDX appliances are in operation almost round the clock—about 23 hours and 30 minutes every day—their performance has been exceptionally stable and reliable throughout. In the future, MTN plans to begin using Monarch HD and Monarch HDX to webcast in high definition from outdoor venues, or while on the go.
“Monarch HDX had it all: Highly-customizable streaming and recording options, simple-to-install and easy-to-maintain design, and a very attractive price point,” says Hyok Kim, head developer, Money Today Media Group. “Furthermore, space was saved and management tasks were reduced significantly. Needless to say, Monarch HDX made the upgrade project absolutely seamless, going above and beyond all our expectations.”