RemoCast The Set-Top Box Multicast Server Appliance Try it free

Introduction to RemoCast

What is RemoCast?

RemoCast is a multicast server conceived to configure, upgrade and control STBs (Set-Top Boxes) and other devices that may appear in many different IPTV and video scenarios.

It has been designed as a stand-alone computer appliance that can be easily deployed along with STBs.

RemoCast comes ready to be used out of the box.

Due to the fact that it is remotely controlled, service and maintenance companies can feed RemoCast with new software packages and then reflash any selection of all the STBs installed in the field.

There is no need to plug any monitor, keyboard or mouse to the unit. With just a power source and a network connection it works 24x7 unattended.

Special commands may also be scheduled for single or periodic execution. For example, certain Set-Top Boxes could be rebooted once a week. A special welcome page could be displayed at 8:30 from Monday to Friday.

As new features are implemented and as soon as bugs get fixed, RemoCast units get automatically upgraded with no need for human intervention.

When to use RemoCast?

Did you ever had to reflash any STB?

If you are following the DIY (Do It Yourself) path, you will have to grab a server, possibly with a monitor, keyboard and mouse. You will then have to install and setup the operating system and all required software components. Finally, you will spend a lot of time trying coordinating all required configuration files.

RemoCast comes ready to use. We may also tailor it to suit your requirements. You can control it remotely from any station with network access.

Do you program STBs from time to time?

The first time that you install and setup a regular server you have to spend an awful lot of time adjusting and coordinating all required configuration files. If you reflash any amount of STBs once in a while, you may experience the same pain every time.

RemoCast comes ready to use. It keeps all your binaries, additional files and custom commands. You're the owner so you decide how RemoCast has to organize your information.

Do you program STBs of different models?

On a regular server, every time you add a new Set-Top Box model, you have to produce a set of special configuration files. You must also be extremely careful with the changes you do to some of the system files and service configuration files. Your server might stop working or its services could get messed up.

With RemoCast you just select an existing service, clone it and adjust few parameters. The appliance takes care of all configuration and coordination actions required by system and services files.

Do your STBs deal with different browsers?

On a regular server you have to follow a naming convention for binary files, source trees and configuration files. Expanding software packages appears to be a simple task but do not forget that you have to edit configuration files and adjust them in order to include new elements.

With RemoCast you just select your new software package and assign a name. Let the appliance do the hard part while you focus on more creative tasks.

Do you manage any variety of drivers and options?

With a regular server it's not easy to have visibility of which files and components have been added or replaced. Let's assume that you have some deployments with conditional access and some without it. Let's also assume that you require IR extension in some sites only. Finally, you may have to include additional fonts and languages, depending on the geographic destination. Now imagine how many combinations you will have to cope with. Would you like to enable Telnet in some boxes only? This will add another dimension to the puzzle.

RemoCast implements a space called EXTRA to let you store additional components such as drivers for external devices, font sets or system options. RemoCast implements another space called USER to let you save your customized versions of files such as splash.gif, settings or config.txt. The package browser allows you to activate and deactivate different options with just 2 clicks.

Did you ever think about renaming packages?

Complexity grows over the time as new features and variants appear. No matter which naming convention you initially choose (say that you append feature names like in Version_1_2_3_Fresco_Telnet), as time goes on, you may have to consider adopting another criterion (say that you use short names like in V_1_2_3_Fr_Tel_Tira_VM_En instead of the original Version_1_2_3_Fresco_Telnet_Verimatrix_English). If you decide to rename all packages following new rules, on a regular server you have to be careful with binary files, source trees and configuration files. Attempting to change any name could be a complete nightmare. Don't forget that you have to coherently adapt names of files and directories. Furthermore, you have to edit configuration files and correct them to reflect these changes.

RemoCast offers you a simple text box where you type the new name. You may use the same simple mechanism to copy entire packages prior to extra feature addition.

Do you have custom keys?

The use of custom keys prevents unauthorized people from accessing and manipulating your deployed Set-Top Boxes. With a regular server you have to ensure that your key files are placed in the proper directory.

RemoCast offers different levels of security per service and per package. You decide if you want to store keys or not. You also decide if you want to save pass phrases or not.

Do you want to control STBs and send them commands?

With a regular server you have to open a terminal session, define commands and manually sign them. You have then to send each one of those commands to STBs either to one by one at a time (unicast) or to all devices that appear connected to the network (multicast).

RemoCast implements groups which let you categorize commands as you want. The Set-Top Box monitor module displays an icon for each possible device. You just select all those STBs that tou desire and click on the corresponding command button.

Do you send commands to STBs with custom keys?

With a regular server you have to ensure that your key files are placed in proper directories. You will also have to open a session, sign commands and, initially, send them to one box at a time.

RemoCast implements commands sets as collections of commands that share a specific set of keys (either custom or standard). You only have to enable some commands depending on the command set. The Set-Top Box monitor module displays an icon for each possible device. You just select all those STBs that you desire and click on the corresponding command button.

Concerned about STB command security?

With a regular server it's very hard to implement a security policy that allows you to decide which users are entitled to execute certain commands.

RemoCast reserves special command groups Cmd0 to Cmd5 whose access totally depends on user privileges. You decide which commands belong to each group and who has access to each group.

Concerned about security?

With a regular server you already know what you have.

All RemoCast module actions may only be executed by users with specific permissions enabled.

Where to use RemoCast?

There are many different scenarios where RemoCast can help and make regular tasks easy.

Please check the applications section for further information and to see some real examples.

Why NOT to use RemoCast?

You don't care about recurring setup time and costs

If you are reading this, you may consider surfing this web in order to understand what can RemoCast do for you.

RemoCast comes ready to use and keeps all configuration files properly coordinated.

You like online support each time you have to do a change

If you are reading this, you may consider surfing this web in order to understand what can RemoCast do for you.

RemoCast offers an intuitive GUI that lets you add, delete or change services, software packages, network and many other configurable matters.

You are happy sending technicians on site

If you are reading this, you may consider surfing this web in order to understand what can RemoCast do for you.

RemoCast is remotely controlled so technicians don't even need to know where the appliance is physically located.

You are not concerned about anybody clobbering your deployments

If you are reading this, you may consider surfing this web in order to understand what can RemoCast do for you.

RemoCast refined and lets you define users and profiles based on permissions. Even critical STB commands (such as reflash or reboot) may run under permission policies.

RemoCast Overview

Overview

Modern Set-Top Boxes usually require software upgrades from time to time. As new models are brought to the market and software updates are made available, managing all combinations becomes a complex and error prone task. RemoCast is designed to easily organize and control your Amino Set-Top Box upgrades. It is a stand-alone system that can be managed remotely by means of its Web-based GUI. You can also command and control your RemoCast appliances and your STBs in the field from your main support center.

Easy of use

RemoCast is designed as a tool to easy STB operators' most common tasks:

  • No special skills are required to install the server
  • It comes ready to use. Vidactive will preconfigure it according to your requirements. Operators can become familiar in less than one hour
  • No commands need to be typed in order to perform any actions
  • RemoCast includes a graphics user interface (GUI) that lets operators and administrators configure and fully control the unit
  • No needs for monitors, keyboards or mice
  • The server is completely operated over the network either local or remote
  • Hierarchical menu
  • Tasks and actions are classified and grouped into different menu options that are easily located thanks to the stackable menu feature

Grow as you need

RemoCast starts as a basic system that can control one Set-Top Box type at a time. As business grows new device models may arrive, different browsers may have to be explored or just new software releases may be needed. When your needs grow, you may:

  • Define extra Set-Top Box types
  • Upload a variety of software packages
  • Request for new features to be added
  • Create custom commands
  • Use different sets of keys
  • Establish user policies

Several RemoCast can be managed from a single location (from the same menu system) by expanding the stack with one or more layers to access them.

User control

Upgrading Set-Top Boxes and sending commands are critical tasks that must be executed by authorized personnel only. Every user has its own set of permissions. Superusers can always block any other user(s).

Non-intrusive

RemoCast uses two network interfaces. The first one is dedicated to command and control the appliance and is usually connected to office network and/or to the Internet. The other one is used to send multicast binaries and commands to target Set-Top Boxes. This approach prevents vital networks from being exhausted by unwanted traffic.

Language support

RemoCast will do its best to generate a GUI that matches user's preferred language. Managers may customize any texts or messages as required. They may also upload complete catalogues in order to support additional languages.

Application Server

You may have your own Electronic Program Guide (EPG) in the so called mini-Web space that the appliance offers. RemoCast will then become a complete stand-alone multi-purpose system. No other equipment will be required to operate the service.

Staying up to date

Vidactive highly recommends that all RemoCast units are permanently connected to the Internet, so they can get updated automatically.

In case of disaster

There is always a RFS ("Return to Factory Settings") mechanism that will revert any changes or modifications and take the server back to a well-known state.



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