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Aurora - Automated QC for a File-Based Video Workflow
Aurora is an automated QC system to help media providers drive efficiency, quality and cost savings into their workflows. Based on Tektronix expertise, Aurora reliably validates high volumes of content for Quality, Compliance and Syntax. Aurora is a 24x7 enterprise solution allowing unattended operation so providers can fully QC increasing volumes of linear and OTT content. A comprehensive API eases workflow integration and configuration, reducing cost of ownership in both on-premise and cloud based systems. Tektronix world-class support protects the investment made by customers, ensuring Aurora is kept up to date in a world of changing standards and formats.
Aurora is significantly ahead of other products in its class in several critical areas:
Automated file QC for production, playout and VOD
Fast and accurate checks for Quality, Compliance and Syntax validation
Supports majority of the industry formats such as the latest 4K, UHD and HDR standards
Comprehensive web-services API for automation
Enterprise class solution for cloud and on-premise deployments
Graphical information to quickly access problems and enable users to determine the root cause
Automated file-based QC with Aurora
Aurora is the enterprise level, automated file-based QC tool that integrates into your file-based workflow and consistently delivers dependable results. By eliminating false positives and correlating human audio and visual perception, Aurora ensures that test reports highlight the key gating issues, not hundreds of irrelevant ones.
The unique Aurora architecture and optimal use of both CPUs and GPUs ensures concurrent analysis of more file types at faster speeds than competing solutions. Aurora provides configurable CPU core allocations to optimize hardware utilization, while providing an upgrade path for future expansion.
Whether you are applying metadata gate-keeping during ingest, detecting visual and audible artifacts, identifying common editing errors, or testing for specific broadcast and distribution constraints, Aurora will have a positive impact across your workflow.
The Aurora architecture is based on an Aurora Controller managing the workload queue for one or more Verification Units (VU) running on standard or customized test templates. The templates can be instantly changed based on workflow requirements. Additional VUs may be added to any Controller at any time to rapidly scale throughput performance.
Aurora Standard VU
The entry level Aurora Standard VU enables allocation of up to four CPU cores for an average throughput performance of up to 5x faster than real time for SD files and real time for HD files.
Aurora Professional VU
Our most popular platform, Aurora Professional VU enables utilizing the available CPU core per VU for maximum throughput and supports up to two GPU modules. When fully hardware configured, this platform can analyze SD files at speeds up to 13x faster than real time, HD files up to 4x real time, and 4K files up to real time.
Aurora delivers analysis speed and accuracy
Guaranteed QC capacity
Aurora guarantees QC throughput speeds by reserving CPU and GPU capacity so the system does not slow down as the test queue increases. This results in a single file being analyzed as fast as that same file with hundreds of other concurrent jobs in progress.
Broad codec and wrapper support
As a result of constant participation in key standards committees (EBU, SMPTE) and industry working groups (AMWA, FIMS, DPP), Aurora maintains the latest codecs and wrappers with new updates arriving as available. This means that almost any file you can make, Aurora can test.
Powerful user interface
Aurora has an efficient user interface based on a wide range of customer feedback with a consistent information layout, user-defined theme/colors and a growing variety of display language scripts in both the user interface and QC reports. Current support includes English, Japanese, Korean and Simplified Chinese character sets.
Easy-to-use QC reports
Aurora job reports are a single easy-to-read page displaying all of the metadata in one location followed by an interactive error summary including frame-accurate access through our Hydra Player. The report is consistent in look and content whether viewed through a Web browser or as a PDF.
Fast access Help files
Aurora provides Help files for every test, instantly accessed from test templates or reports, providing an explanation of each individual test, how the test is performed, recommended correction(s), and where to in the workflow may be the best location to perform the fix.
Aurora email notifications ensure that regardless of the receiving email device there is appropriate information provided for decision making or further action. Emails contain summary info and a HTML link to the full QC Report, and optionally the PDF version.
Unrivaled, scalable speed
Aurora was the first file-based QC product engineered to dynamically allocate compute threads across a user-specified number of CPU cores, enabling performance and scalability in high density virtual and blade environments. Using high CPU allocation or a lower CPU allocation combined with Aurora’s unique GPU accelerated processing capability, QC throughput approaching wireline limits can be achieved, rather than being constrained by a legacy decoding, buffering and testing architecture.
QC report analytics
Aurora includes QC Analytics to enable media organizations to analyze results of multiple QC Reports and search across reports for specific criteria. Aurora can identify QC artifact trends and compare results from QC done at different workflow stages, pipeline issues and trends or identify vendors for KPI and SLA documentation.
4K production work flow
Aurora can test and play back the Interoperable Master Format (IMF), the distribution master format agreed on by major motion picture studios, and the supplemental IMF packages. Aurora has the ability to QC and play back complex Composition Play Lists (CPLs) and can test 4K at real-time or faster in any other container or codec, including JPEG 2000, DPX, DNxHR, HEVC, H.264/AVC/AVCI/XAVC.1
Optional codecs are available for access to Canopus and HEVC decoders, and to enable GPU acceleration to the native capability of the JPEG 2000 decoder.
Enhanced Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) support
Aurora is the first file-based QC solution on the market capable of both testing and playing back HLS/HSS/HDS/DASH and CableLabs intermediate ABR playlist file sets. Aurora includes tests that have been specifically designed to catch the most common causes of adaptive bit rate streaming problems.
Minimal false positives
Aurora algorithms are designed to reduce false positives, ensuring an accurate QC report. Tektronix operates a unique machine learning loop that ensures that continuous accuracy improvements of test algorithms based on customer supplied files with known QC artifacts.
Video essence tests
Aurora video essence tests include Macro-block Noise, Up-conversion, Picture Quality (TekMOS, Perceptual Video Quality), Comb Artifacts, Field Order Swaps, Tape/Digital Hits, Perceptual & Film Artifacts, Black/Freeze Frames, Letterboxing/Pillarboxing, Dead Pixel Detection, Color Bars, PSE/Flash Detection (Harding FPA), and Cadence Change.
Audio essence tests
Aurora audio essence tests include Silence, Drop-outs, Peaks (dBTP, PPM, dBFS), Average Levels (R128, ATSC, ARIB), Clipping, Snaps/Clicks/Pops, Test Tones, Phase Swaps and Hiss/Hum. Aurora also applies a user-defined Audio Service Map for processing AES wrapped tracks or when mono channel audio essence tracks are tested together.
Aurora metadata tests include Container Syntax, Video Essence Syntax, Caption Syntax, Container Essence Contents, Cross-Check Container-Essence, Rude Word Detection in Text, Start Time code, Time code Discontinuity, Video Resolution and Run-times. Additional metadata tests for Dolby Audio Syntax and Dolby E Guard Band Alignment are included with the optional Dolby codecs.
Distribution constraint tests
Aurora has predefined tests for most popular distribution formats, including CableLabs VOD, CableLabs ABR/EBP, iTunes, Netflix, ATSC, DVB, ISDB-T/TB, XDCAM/RDD-9, AS-02, AS-10, AS-10 French PAD and DPP/AS-11.
Aurora includes tools for implementing end-to-end workflows, including Smart Test Plans for automatically applying test plans to your incoming files, and a Decision Engine that enables automated post QC test file movement and corrective actions.
Aurora QC includes an easy to use SOAP API, as well as the legacy CeriTalk API, allowing leading vendors to seamlessly integrate Aurora QC into their solution workflows. Major partners include Amberfin, Aspera, Astec, Imagine Communications, Telestream, iBroadcast, DataMiner, Vidispine, Dalet, and FileCatalyst.
Aurora supports the following file formats. Please contact Tektronix for the latest listings.
MXF (All OP, including AMWA defined AS, RDD-9, P2, SxS), Transport Stream, Elementary Stream, Program Stream/VOB, AVI, WMV/ASF, QuickTime/MOV, GXF, MP4, LXF, R3D, DPX, DXW, HLS, DASH, Smooth Streaming, IMF, and DCP (unencrypted).
H.265 (HEVC), H.264 (AVC/AVC-Intra/XAVC), MPEG-2 (including XDCAM, IMX and D-10), ProRes, JPEG 2000, DNxHD and DNxHR (VC-3), Cineform (VC-5), VC-1 (and WMV), DV/DVCPro, Flash VP-6/7, RAW (Huffman, YUV, RGB, Blackmagic), EXR, DPX, RED, Canopus, and MPEG-4 (SStP).1
Standard codecs include PCM Audio (WAV/AES/BWF), AAC, HE-AAC, WMA Standard Pro, MPEG-2 (L1,2,3) and MPEG-1. Audio correction is available on constant bit rate codecs only. Optional codecs are available to support Dolby Digital (AC-3), Dolby Digital Plus (EAC-3), Dolby TrueHD (MLP), and Dolby E.
Captions / subtitles / text
CEA-608/CEA-708 in Line 21 video, ATSC 53, DVB-Teletext, SCTE 20, SCTE 128 and SMPTE 436M; SMPTE Timed Text and variations, including DFXP; EBU Subtitles, including STL; SRT; SCC.