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Icp

  1. 1. ICP Operator Manual v1.0 July 2, 1997 Copyright © 1997 Interactive Channel Technologies Inc. All trademarks are the properties of their respective owners.
  2. 2. CONTENTS Interactive Television Preface .......................................................................................................... vii P f What’s in this Manual ............................................................................................................... viii Other Sources of Information ....................................................................................................... x How to Contact The Interactive ChannelSM ................................................................................ xi PART ONE: TUTORIAL Chapter 1: The Basics of Interactive Television ............................................. 1-1 User Equipment ......................................................................................................................... 1-3 Source Control Receiver ........................................................................................................ 1-3 Remote Control...................................................................................................................... 1-5 Chapter 2: The Home Experience ................................................................. 2-1 Ch t 2 Attractor Screen ........................................................................................................................ 2-2 Creating a Session ..................................................................................................................... 2-3 Session .................................................................................................................................. 2-3 ICP Operator Manual / i
  3. 3. Contents Presentations............................................................................................................................. 2-4 Navigating Between Presentations ....................................................................................... 2-6 Interactive Applications ............................................................................................................ 2-7 Exploring the What's on TV Application ............................................................................... 2-8 Terminating a Session ............................................................................................................. 2-10 Chapter 3: How it Works ............................................................................. 3-1 Inside the ICP ............................................................................................................................ 3-4 The ITS.................................................................................................................................. 3-4 The AIS ................................................................................................................................. 3-5 Management of Audio Playback ...................................................................................... 3-6 Interpretation of User Input.............................................................................................. 3-7 The VTS ................................................................................................................................ 3-7 Management of Video Playback ....................................................................................... 3-8 Processing of Terminal Commands ................................................................................... 3-8 Receiving User Input................................................................................................................. 3-9 Playing Presentations .............................................................................................................. 3-12 Playing Audio ..................................................................................................................... 3-14 Playing Video....................................................................................................................... 3-16 Overlays and Terminal Commands ...................................................................................... 3-18 Overlays ......................................................................................................................... 3-18 Terminal Commands ........................................................................................................ 3-18 Navigating Through Presentations ......................................................................................... 3-20 Navigation Session Task ..................................................................................................... 3-20 Presentation File Server ....................................................................................................... 3-21 Selecting a Presentation ...................................................................................................... 3-22 Managing User Sessions ........................................................................................................ 3-24 Creating a Session ............................................................................................................... 3-24 Terminating a Session ......................................................................................................... 3-26 Starting an Application ....................................................................................................... 3-28 Other Functions of the ICP...................................................................................................... 3-30 Logging Messages.............................................................................................................. 3-31 Recording Statistics ............................................................................................................ 3-32 Updating Presentation Databases ....................................................................................... 3-34 ii ICP Operator Manual
  4. 4. Contents Chapter 4: The Electronic Transfer of Content .............................................. 4-1 Ch t 4 Locations................................................................................................................................... 4-2 Content Studio ...................................................................................................................... 4-2 ICP ......................................................................................................................................... 4-3 Inside the BUP .......................................................................................................................... 4-4 BUP Setup ............................................................................................................................. 4-4 BUP Steps ............................................................................................................................. 4-5 File Transfer...................................................................................................................... 4-6 File Distribution ................................................................................................................ 4-7 Version Control ................................................................................................................. 4-9 Cleanup .......................................................................................................................... 4-10 Activation....................................................................................................................... 4-11 Operator Information ...................................................................................................... 4-12 Version Control Tasks ............................................................................................................. 4-13 Depot Directory ................................................................................................................... 4-13 Versioned Directories .......................................................................................................... 4-15 Current Directory................................................................................................................. 4-17 Controlling the BUP ................................................................................................................ 4-18 Activate a PDB Manually .................................................................................................... 4-18 Change the PDB Activation Time ....................................................................................... 4-18 Disable/Enable Activation .................................................................................................. 4-18 Change PDB Versions ......................................................................................................... 4-18 Obtain Status Information ................................................................................................... 4-19 Chapter 5: Working with the ICP ................................................................. 5-1 Ch t 5 Starting the SMT ....................................................................................................................... 5-2 Description ................................................................................................................................ 5-3 SMT Screen ............................................................................................................................... 5-4 Title Bar ................................................................................................................................. 5-4 Menu Bar............................................................................................................................... 5-4 Server Status Activity Window ............................................................................................. 5-6 Log Messages Window ........................................................................................................ 5-7 Colors ........................................................................................................................................ 5-8 Non-content .......................................................................................................................... 5-8 Content.................................................................................................................................. 5-8 ICP Operator Manual / iii
  5. 5. Contents Working with SMT Menus and Windows ................................................................................ 5-9 Log Message Details........................................................................................................... 5-12 Stopping the SMT ................................................................................................................... 5-13 PART TWO: REFERENCE Chapter 6: Monitoring the System ................................................................ 6-1 Ch 6 Status ........................................................................................................................................ 6-2 Hosts ......................................................................................................................................... 6-5 Servers ...................................................................................................................................... 6-7 Chapter 7: Configuring the System ............................................................... 7-1 Ch t 7 Configuration File Syntax .......................................................................................................... 7-2 PROGRAM ............................................................................................................................ 7-3 PROC_CLASS ....................................................................................................................... 7-3 PATH ..................................................................................................................................... 7-3 ENV ....................................................................................................................................... 7-3 PARM .................................................................................................................................... 7-4 %INDEX Variable ............................................................................................................. 7-4 HEARTBEAT ......................................................................................................................... 7-4 MISSHBS .............................................................................................................................. 7-5 INSTANCES .......................................................................................................................... 7-5 STARTINDEX ....................................................................................................................... 7-5 SHUTDOWNINDEX ............................................................................................................. 7-6 RECOVERY ............................................................................................................................ 7-6 DELAY .................................................................................................................................. 7-6 SIGNAL_MASK ................................................................................................................... 7-7 WORKDIR ............................................................................................................................ 7-7 Viewing and Modifying Configuration Files ............................................................................. 7-8 Changing the Configuration File ......................................................................................... 7-10 iv ICP Operator Manual
  6. 6. Contents Chapter 8: Performing Batch Updates .......................................................... 8-1 Ch t 8 Specifying Directory Information .............................................................................................. 8-2 Running the Setup Utility ...................................................................................................... 8-3 Obtaining Help ...................................................................................................................... 8-4 Exiting the Setup Utility ......................................................................................................... 8-4 Utility Commands .................................................................................................................. 8-5 Specifying Incoming and Staging Directories ....................................................................... 8-6 Specifying Presentation Directories ...................................................................................... 8-7 Specifying Audio and Video Directories ............................................................................... 8-8 Specifying Notification Information ...................................................................................... 8-9 Choosing a BUP Server ........................................................................................................... 8-11 Manually Activating a PDB .................................................................................................... 8-13 Changing the Activation Time ................................................................................................ 8-15 Disabling/Enabling Activation ................................................................................................ 8-17 Changing PDB Versions .......................................................................................................... 8-19 Viewing BUP Messages .......................................................................................................... 8-21 Viewing General BUP Information ........................................................................................... 8-22 Chapter 9: Starting and Stopping the System ................................................ 9-1 Ch t 9 Delayed Startup ......................................................................................................................... 9-2 Paused Startup .......................................................................................................................... 9-3 Automatic and Manual Startup ................................................................................................. 9-4 How to Start and Stop the System ............................................................................................ 9-6 Starting the System ............................................................................................................... 9-6 Stopping the System ............................................................................................................. 9-7 Starting and Stopping Sequence ............................................................................................... 9-9 Chapter 10: Troubleshooting ...................................................................... 10-1 Ch t 10 Appendix A: Log Files and Messages ......................................................... A-1 A di A Naming and Location of Log Files ...........................................................................................A-2 ICP Operator Manual / v
  7. 7. Contents Rollover by Size ....................................................................................................................A-2 Rollover by Time ..................................................................................................................A-3 Rollover by Operator ............................................................................................................A-3 Fields in a Log Message ..........................................................................................................A-4 Appendix B: File Types ............................................................................... B-1 A di B Appendix C: ICP Directories ...................................................................... C-1 A di C INS Directory Structure ............................................................................................................ C-3 AIS Directory Structure ............................................................................................................ C-4 VTS Directory Structure ........................................................................................................... C-5 ITS Directory Structure ............................................................................................................ C-6 Appendix D: Fault Recovery ....................................................................... D-1 A di D Detecting Dead Processes ....................................................................................................... D-2 Recovery Actions .................................................................................................................... D-4 Shutdown ............................................................................................................................. D-4 Process Restart..................................................................................................................... D-6 Message Log........................................................................................................................ D-7 Ignore ................................................................................................................................... D-7 16 concurrent users log_on: log_off: statistics Appendix E: Statistics Files ......................................................................... E-1 peak time A di E Naming and Location of Statistics Files ................................................................................... E-2 Statistics File Rollover .............................................................................................................. E-3 Appendix F: Man-Pages ............................................................................. F-1 A di F vi ICP Operator Manual
  8. 8. Contents Appendix G: Your System ........................................................................... G-1 A di G ICP Studio Content ITS AIS S VT Glossary .......................................................................................... Glossary-1 Gl Index I d ICP Operator Manual / vii
  9. 9. Preface Interactive Television Preface W elcome to the Interactive Channel Platform (ICP), an interactive television (ITV) technology. ITV permits users to receive on-demand sound and images through their television. This manual explains the basics of ITV and the tasks that an operator must perform in order to manage the ICP’s technology. This manual is written specifically for ICP operators. This manual doesn’t need to be read in its entirety. The chapters are organized so that operators can easily access information from just one location. The ICP Operator Manual is divided into two parts: Part One, a tutorial, provides introductory information to an operator who requires an overview of the system prior to managing its daily operation. Part Two, a reference, provides specific information to an operator who man- ages the daily operation of the system. ICP Operator Manual / vii
  10. 10. Preface WHAT’S IN THIS MANUAL If you are new to the ICP or ITV, it is recommended that you read Part One before using the reference material contained in Part Two. This manual is arranged as follows: PART ONE: TUTORIAL Chapter 1, “The Basics of Interactive Television” Fundamentals of interactive television. Chapter 2, “The Home Experience” Description of the ICP’s interactive services from a user’s perspective. Chapter 3, “How It Works” Explanation of the technology used in the ICP. Chapter 4, “The Electronic Transfer of Content” Explanation of the process used in the ICP to receive new interactive content. Chapter 5, “Working with the ICP” Introduction to the primary tool an operator uses to administer the ICP. PART TWO: REFERENCE Chapter 6, “Monitoring the System” Description of the system information which can be viewed online. Chapter 7, “Configuring the System” Instructions on how to customize the ICP software. Chapter 8, “Performing Batch Updates” Instructions on how to monitor and control the Batch Update Process. Chapter 9, “Starting and Stopping the System” Explanation of how to start and stop the ICP. viii ICP Operator Manual
  11. 11. Preface Chapter 10, “Troubleshooting” List of common problems encountered when operating the ICP and how to solve them. Appendix A, “Log Files and Messages” List of system messages an operator can encounter and the files used by the system to store them. Appendix B, “File Types” Explanation of the file types used by the system to store information. Appendix C, “ICP Directories” Description of the directory tree used to store ICP software and data. Appendix D, “Fault Recovery” Description of the ICP’s automatic fault detection and resolution capabilities. Appendix E, “Statistics Files” Description of the files used by the ICP to store statistics. Appendix F, “Man-pages” List of all relevant man-pages. Appendix G, “Your System” Detailed information about the system at your site. Glossary Explanation of the terminology related to the ICP and ITV. If you encounter an unfamiliar term, refer to this section for a definition. Index ICP Operator Manual / ix
  12. 12. Preface OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION Most of the information an operator will need is contained in this manual. However, other useful documents are available: Other Available Documentation manual pages SCR Installation XWITTE User Guide Manual Content Studio User Guide Installation Guide Interactive Application Environment Developer Kit Not every site will have all of these documents. If any of these documents are required, contact your on-site ICP specialist or contact The Interactive ChannelK (refer to the next section). Nevertheless, every ICP is installed with the most important documentation available for an ICP operator - on-line docu- mentation. On-line documentation is installed with every ICP in the form of manual pages (man-pages). Man-pages can be accessed at the operating system prompt by typing man followed by the name of the required man-page. For convenience, printed copies of ICP man-pages can be found in Appendix F: Man-Pages. Note that online man-pages may be more up-to-date than the printed man-pages. x ICP Operator Manual
  13. 13. Preface HOW TO CONTACT THE INTERACTIVE CHANNELK This manual should provide answers to most of your questions regarding the operation of the ICP. However, if this manual does not answer a question, large sites have on-site ICP specialists to provide additional information. These specialists are a useful resource that will answer any questions that you may have regarding the operation of your system. Smaller systems may not have an on-site ICP specialist from The Interactive ChannelK. However, these sites can receive the same quality of service by contacting The Interactive ChannelK directly using the information provided below. There are several methods you can use to contact us: “insert telephone #” You can telephone the Customer Support Department during normal business hours from Monday to Friday. “insert e-mail address here” The best way to contact our Customer Support Department is by e-mail. Leave your questions and/or comments at this e-mail address for the customer support staff to process. You can also mail your questions and/or comments to The Interactive ChannelK by using the following address: The Interactive ChannelK Customer Support Department Dallas, Texas We welcome your comments, suggestions and inquiries. ICP Operator Manual / xi
  14. 14. Chapter 1: The Basics of Interactive Television T he Interactive Channel Platform (ICP) provides the hardware and software solutions that permit users to receive interactive television (ITV). ITV permits users to receive on-demand sound and images through their televisions. Users of The Interactive ChannelK only require a Source Control Receiver (SCR) and a remote control to interact with their televisions. Of course, an account with the local cable company is also recommended! This chapter focuses on the hardware that a user requires to receive ITV from The Interactive ChannelK. Although this chapter is relatively brief, it is extremely important because it serves as the foundation upon which all other chapters are based. ICP Operator Manual / 1-1
  15. 15. The Basics of Interactive Television There are two basic requirements for a user to receive ITV: • Specialized hardware at the user’s location. This hardware is described later in this chapter. • Specialized hardware and software at the cable television (CATV) source. It is the responsibility of the operator to manage the ICP at the CATV source so that the users can receive ITV. This part of the system is introduced in Chapter 3: How It Works and is discussed in greater detail in all following chapters and appendices. Content Studio ICP at CATV Source ICP at CATV Source ICP User Input Audio SCR CATV Head-end Video Remote ICP1-01.EPS 1-2 ICP Operator Manual
  16. 16. The Basics of Interactive Television USER EQUIPMENT The ICP hardware at a user’s home consists of a settop box called a Source Contol Receiver (SCR) and an alphanumeric remote control unit. Note that some users will also have an infrared keyboard to communicate with the SCR. Source Control Receiver The SCR resembles a cable converter. It captures commands from the remote control and delivers these commands to the ICP. The SCR also processes the audio and video data sent from the ICP. The SCR is the link between the remote control (discussed in the next section) and the ICP at the CATV source. Note that the The SCR receives audio and video using a standard telephone line and a coaxial user’s cable line, respectively. The SCR contains cable and telephone jacks to send and telephone is busy when the receive information. The SCR permits the user to receive on-demand audio and SCR is video selections. receiving audio. ICP Operator Manual / 1-3
  17. 17. The Basics of Interactive Television The SCR operates in three modes: 1) OFF: The red light on the SCR is illuminated. Users cannot receive ITV in this mode. 2) IDLE: The green light on the SCR is illuminated. The SCR is turned on but users can’t receive ITV. When the SCR is in this mode and the user is tuned to the ICP channel, the ICP sends a special screen to the user. 3) INTERACTIVE: The green light and The Interactive ChannelK hand on the SCR are illuminated. Users can receive ITV in this mode. Red Light Green Light Hand The lights and symbols represent electronic communication occurring (or not occurring) between the user and the ICP. The SCR can be set to use Channel 3 or Channel 4 as the Output Channel. The SCR has the following connectors on the rear panel: • Audio Out • Video Out • To TV • CATV In • From Decoder • Expansion Port Refer to the Source Control Receiver Installation Manual for additional infor- mation on the SCR. 1-4 ICP Operator Manual
  18. 18. The Basics of Interactive Television Remote Control The SCR works with a remote control to allow a user to enter input. This input begins when a user presses keys on the remote control’s keypad and permits communication with the ICP. The remote control looks and acts like a standard remote control. It sends signals to the SCR. Every key has a specific function and individual keypresses send signals through the SCR to the ICP where those signals are pro- cessed. SCR Remote The remote control communicates with an SCR via an infrared port. An infrared receiver in the SCR interprets the keypresses. The remote control permits users to start and stop ITV services. Note that some users also use an infrared keyboard to communicate with the SCR. The keyboard permits the user to compose sentences for e-mail and other applications which permit the user to enter long alphabetic strings, perform extensive typing, etc. ICP Operator Manual / 1-5
  19. 19. The Basics of Interactive Television The following illustration shows the remote control and the functions of certain keys: SET UP TV This key is used Logs the user off by a technician. The Interactive Channel SM . # LETTER KEYPAD This key takes the user These keys type letters to the next screen. and words. They also function as HOT KEYS. NUMBER KEYPAD These keys correspond to HOT KEYS number choices that are seen These keys are shortcuts on the MAIN MENU to applications. and elsewhere. * SHIFT This key takes the user to This key makes alphabetic keys the previous screen. produce upper case letters. INSERT SYMBOL MENU This key puts a space between Users press MENU to go letters or numbers. to the main menu. DELETE CH+ AND CH- This key permits a Displays messages reminding selection to be deleted. the user to use the TV remote control to change channels. GUIDE This key takes the user to the What's on TV application. ENTER Users press the ENTER VOLUME SYMBOL key after most commands. This key controls volume. NEXT PREV Takes the user to This key is functional only the next screen. when displayed onscreen. FF REW This key lets the useruser fast key letslets the fast the user fast This key lets the user forward through a selection. replay a selection. BUY MUTE/PAUSE This key sends the This key stops a selection. user to the order screen. It is the remote control, working with the SCR, that permits ITV to be received at a user’s location. The next chapter details the interactive experience from a user’s perspective. 1-6 ICP Operator Manual
  20. 20. Chapter 2: The Home Experience Chapter 2 T his chapter introduces the major concepts of how the user interacts with the ICP, what the user sees and some of the basics of using the remote control. This chapter also introduces important terminology which is used throughout the manual. These new terms include attractor screen, presentation, session, interactive application and navigation. ICP Operator Manual / 2-1
  21. 21. The Home Experience ATTRACTOR SCREEN An attractor screen is an image which identifies the ICP’s interactive services and is the first screen a user sees after tuning to The Interactive ChannelSM. When an SCR is in the IDLE mode and the user is tuned to The Interactive ChannelSM, the SCR displays an attractor screen that is broadcast by the ICP. The frequency at which the ICP broadcasts the attractor screen is established during initial system configuration. Refer to Chapter 7: Configuring the System for additional information. This version of the ICP accomodates only one attractor screen, however, future releases will accomodate numerous attractor screens. The operator will be able to manually change these attractor screens using the Site Management Task (SMT). The SMT is explained in Chapter 5: Working with the ICP and Chapter 6: Monitor- ing the System. 2-2 ICP Operator Manual
  22. 22. The Home Experience CREATING A SESSION A user can begin interacting with the ICP system by pressing the key. When pressed, the main menu appears on the television screen. This main menu replaces the attractor screen described in the previous section. The keypress sends an infrared signal to the SCR which communicates with the ICP. The ICP interprets this signal and sends the main menu to the user. This process, called logging onto the system, permits the user to receive interactive content. ICP Head-End Main Menu SCR Address ID and SCR Address ID MENU keypress SCR User Input Attractor Screen The SCR signal that goes to the ICP during logon contains the SCR’s unique address. This address lets the ICP identify the user’s SCR and enables it to send information to that SCR only. The ICP responds by sending the main menu to the SCR. Session Each SCR can A session occurs when a user connects or “logs” onto the ICP. Pressing the be configured key starts a session. This keypress changes the mode of the SCR to to have many keys that cause INTERACTIVE, as explained in Chapter 1: The Basics of Interactive Television. a logon. It may Refer to Chapter 3: How it Works for an in-depth discussion on how a session is (or may not) created. include the key. ICP Operator Manual / 2-3
  23. 23. The Home Experience PRESENTATIONS Presentations are units of audiovisual information sent by the ICP to users. A typical presentation can include multiple video images, an optional supporting audio stream, and one or more input choices. When the user selects an input choice with the remote control, a new audiovisual presentation is transmitted. 8 * 0 # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ICP2-0005.EPS 2-4 ICP Operator Manual
  24. 24. The Home Experience Input choices are presented as menus and provide the user with audiovisual selections. Menus permit the user to move through a series of different presenta- tions. Each presentation is a different collection of audio and video segments. These presen- tations are still-frame, photo- graphic-quality television pictures and can be accompa- nied by audio. The ICP stores, manages and distributes these presentations as individual users request them. SM trol con rce sou Dra ma Video 2 om Sitc 4 edy Com 1 ry enta um 3 5 Doc Adu lt En terta inm ent Graphics Overlay Text Overlay 2 4 1 3 5 ma Dra om Sitc edy Com ry enta um Doc ent inm terta lt En Adu ICP-0007.EPS The video images of a presentation can be overlaid with text or simple graphics. Some examples of graphic overlays include colored circles, squares and straight lines. These overlays are not part of the actual video images stored on disk but are generated dynamically during the course of a session. Text and graphics overlays are further described in Chapter 3: How it Works. ICP Operator Manual / 2-5
  25. 25. The Home Experience Navigating Between Presentations Navigation is the process of moving from one presentation to another during a session. User input drives navigation. source control ON source control Menu choice source control Menu choice source control Presentation source control Hot key ICP2 0008 E Users can navigate between presentations quicker by using special function keys called hot keys. A user presses a hot key to navigate directly to a particular presentation. Refer to Chapter 1: The Basics of Interactive Television for a description of the remote control and its keys. 2-6 ICP Operator Manual
  26. 26. The Home Experience INTERACTIVE APPLICATIONS Interactive applications are software programs which deliver custom interactive services as well as standard presentations to the user. Interactive applications also process user input. What's on TV, Today and Trivia are examples of interac- tive applications which are included with some ICP systems. Note that this manual refers to interactive applications and applications interchangeably. ICP CATVHead-end ICP Head-end User Input Audio Interactive Application ICP2-0009.EPS ICP Operator Manual / 2-7
  27. 27. The Home Experience Exploring the What's on TV Application What's on TV is an interactive TV guide. Listings can be accessed for times of the day, specific days of the week or by subject. Of course, each ICP normally has numerous applications installed. The What’s on TV application is just one possible example to introduce an operator to ICP applications. 2-8 ICP Operator Manual
  28. 28. The Home Experience To use What's on TV, follow these steps: 1) Press on the remote control after tuning to the ICP channel and wait until logon is complete. 2) From the main menu, select the option What's on TV. 3) Choose a particular type of television listing, e.g. All Shows, Movies or Sports. 4) After selecting a show category, a list of shows will be displayed. Choose a show from this list to begin viewing it. (The TV channel will automatically change to the show you select.) Here are some other keys available in What’s on TV: • displays additional channel information (each screen will typically show 5 channels) • sends the user to the previous screen • gives the user channel information for different days of the week • returns the user to the main menu Every application that a user (or an operator) encounters is likely to have a different theme or purpose. It really doesn’t matter what application a user may be using - each application and almost everthing that the ICP does is similarly driven by the keypresses of a user. It is these keypresses which deliver an attractor screen, create a session, allow a user to navigate between presentations and explore applications. Of course, a keypress also permits users to terminate a session and end the home experience as described in this chapter. Refer to the IAE Developer Guide: Tutorial for a more in-depth explanation of applications, including Trivia and User Registration. ICP Operator Manual / 2-9
  29. 29. The Home Experience TERMINATING A SESSION Press the or keys on the remote control to exit the system. Note that the key also turns off the SCR, returning it to the OFF mode. These keystrokes are sent to the SCR which relays them to the ICP. For more informa- tion on what happens when a user logs off the ICP, see the Managing User Sessions section in Chapter 3: How It Works. Power TV SCR ICP2-0011.EPS 2-10 ICP Operator Manual
  30. 30. Chapter 3: How it Works T he first two chapters discuss the ICP from a user’s perspective. This chapter focuses on the ICP hardware and software that: • manages audio playback and captures the input keyed in by users • manages video playback and processes terminal commands This chapter also discusses how the ICP plays presentations, navigates through presentations, manages user sessions and performs its important support functions. ICP Operator Manual / 3-1
  31. 31. How it Works ICP ICP Head-end ITS VT S User Input AI S Audio Video <T erm ina lC om ma nds > ICP3-01.EPS A process is The Audio/Input System (AIS) manages audio playback and captures user input. one or more The Video/Terminal System (VTS) manages video playback and processes computer terminal commands. These two processes are discussed later in this chapter. programs. The audio and video signals that carry multimedia presentations originate from the ICP. These presentations are created using the Content Studio (CS) at sites remote from the ICP. The Content Studio is a multimedia authoring tool that creates presentations. For more information on the Content Studio, see the Content Studio User Guide. 3-2 ICP Operator Manual
  32. 32. How it Works A sequence of steps, collectively called the Batch Update Process (BUP), is used to transfer the presentations from the Content Studio to the ICP. The BUP is normally an automated process, however, the operator can intervene if necessary. For more information on the BUP, see Chapter 4: The Electronic Transfer of Content and Chapter 8: Performing Batch Updates. ICP Content Studio ICP Head-end Presentations The Content Studio sends presentations to the ICP which receives and stores these presentations. Users can request these presentations. This chapter focuses on the ICP and the components and processes that make interactive services possible. ICP Operator Manual / 3-3
  33. 33. How it Works INSIDE THE ICP The ICP contains the hardware and software responsible for delivering interac- tive services to users. These interactive services consist of audio segments and video images which are driven by user input. The ICP software consists of three major components: • ITS (Interactive Teminal Server) • AIS (Audio/Input System) • VTS (Video/Terminal System) The ITS The ITS consists of processes which are responsible for: • Interpreting user input • Playing the presentations users receive • Providing the support functions needed to keep the ICP operational • Starting and stopping the ICP • Creating and terminating sessions • Recording log messages 3-4 ICP Operator Manual
  34. 34. How it Works ICP Head-end ICP ITS SCR VTS AIS The AIS and the VTS are intermediaries between the SCR and ITS. The AIS The AIS manages audio playback and captures user input. In a standard configu- ration, the AIS operates on a single, dedicated computer. However, in smaller configurations, the AIS may share a computer with other components of the ICP software. In larger configurations, there may be multiple AIS processes running on multiple computers. ICP Operator Manual / 3-5
  35. 35. How it Works An AIS can service up to 48 user sessions simultaneously. This limit determines the number of AIS processes which are run. For example, a 96-user system requires two AIS processes. Small ICP Configuration Standard ICP Configuration Large ICP Configuration (48 - user system) (96 - user system) ITS ITS ITS VTS VTS AIS AIS/VTS AIS AIS Management of Audio Playback All audio information for a presentation is stored in the ICP. Each audio segment is contained in its own file. The AIS is responsible for reading data from these files and transmitting these audio segments to a user. Specialized audio hardware permits transmission of audio segments. An audio segment is transmitted to a user over a standard telephone line. The SCR receives the segment and forwards it to a TV that plays the segment through its speakers. ITS VTS AIS 3-6 ICP Operator Manual
  36. 36. How it Works Interpretation of User Input The AIS captures user input and relays it to the rest of the ITS software. The AIS has many telephone line connections to receive input from multiple users. This allows the ICP to process many simultaneous sessions. Refer to the AIS section in Appendix G: Your System to find out how many lines are connected to your system. ICP ICP Head-end ITS AI S User Input The VTS The VTS manages video playback and processes terminal commands. In a standard configuration, all the processes of the VTS operate on a single com- puter dedicated to video functions. However, in smaller configurations, the VTS may share a computer with other components of the ICP software. In larger configurations, there may be multiple VTS processes running on multiple computers. ICP Operator Manual / 3-7
  37. 37. How it Works Management of Video Playback The VTS communicates with the rest of the ICP to coordinate the delivery of video images to a user’s SCR. All video information for a presentation is stored in the ICP. This information is stored in files on disk. The VTS pro- cesses the video images and sends them through the cable line connected to an SCR. The VTS uses a specialized video hardware card to deliver video images. Processing of Terminal Commands In addition to receiving video images and audio, the SCR accepts terminal commands from the ICP. Terminal commands originate from interactive applica- tions. These terminal commands are transmitted from the ICP by the VTS. The VTS accepts commands from interactive applications and converts them into a signal that can be sent through the cable connection to an SCR. Refer to the Overlays and Terminal Commands section for additional information on terminal commands. 3-8 ICP Operator Manual
  38. 38. How it Works RECEIVING USER INPUT Off-hook describes a line servicing an active session with a user. This off-hook line carries user input to the ICP. The ICP can only receive user input when a line is off-hook. A line remains off-hook during a session and can be used for only one session at a time. User Input Off-Hook State For more On-hook describes a line that is not information on carrying the input (or delivering the audio) logging on and off the ICP, see of an active session. An on-hook line is the Creating a available to deliver a logon request to the Session and ICP and start a new session for a user. Terminating a Session sections later in this chapter. On-Hook State ICP Operator Manual / 3-9
  39. 39. How it Works Here are the steps which make receiving input possible: The user presses keys on the remote control. The keystrokes are transmitted via infrared signal to the SCR. The SCR receives and converts the keystrokes to touch tones and transmits them through the previously opened telephone connection to the head-end. ICP. 3-10 ICP Operator Manual
  40. 40. How it Works The AIS captures the touch tones and any relays the commands, indicating which keys have been pressed, to other processes in the ICP. These processes respond to the input, usually by delivering new presentations to the user. ICP Operator Manual / 3-11
  41. 41. How it Works PLAYING PRESENTATIONS Three ICP components are required to play presentations: • AIS • VTS • Presentation Server The AIS and VTS have already been discussed. However, the ICP also requires the Presentation Server to play presentations. The Presentation Server synchro- nizes the timing of audio and video elements to deliver ITV to a user’s location. Here are the steps the Presentation Server performs when it receives a presenta- tion play request: The Presentation Server separates the presentation into its elementary video images, audio segment and input choices. For the first video image which must be displayed, the Presentation Server submits a play request to a VTS. Normally, there is only one VTS and it receives all play requests. 3-16- 3-12 ICP Operator Manual
  42. 42. How it Works For the audioaudio first segment which must be played, the Presentation Server submits a play request to an AIS. This step is bypassed if there isn't an audio segment in the presentation. If the Presentation Server encounters input choices in the presentation, it will send them to the interactive application which is currently running. This will be used by the application to validate user input. If there are any remaining images in the presentation, the Presentation Server instructs the VTS to play them at their specified start times. Content producers determine the relative start times of the elements within each presentation. They must set these times so the images and audio segment are synchronized when played. ICP Operator Manual / 3-13
  43. 43. How it Works Playing Audio The Presentation Server needs the AIS and VTS to play the audio and video images in a presentation. We will now describe the first of these two processes that are so important to the ICP. The number of As described previously, the AIS uses the same telephone line connection to an lines attached SCR for both audio playback and user input reception. It must support the to the ICP simultaneous playback requirements for the many sessions that can be active at determines the maximum any time. number of simultaneous Here are the steps which make the delivery of audio possible: sessions. The user enters input in response to choices on the TV screen. The SCR captures the infrared signals generated by the remote control and sends them to the AIS. The input is captured by the AIS and relayed to other processes in the ICP. AI S 3-14 ICP Operator Manual
  44. 44. How it Works Processes within the ICP instruct the Presentation Server to play the e user-selected presentation. VT S The Presentation Server submits a play request to the AIS. AI S The AIS reads the audio data from a file on disk. A specialized audio hardware card, under the direction of the AIS, decompresses the audio data and transmits it through the telephone line connection to the user's SCR. The SCR captures the signal and plays the audio over the TV speakers. i The audio that is played may be mixed with background audio at the user’s location. This is described in the Overlays and Terminal Commands section later in this chapter. ICP Operator Manual / 3-15
  45. 45. How it Works Playing Video The VTS plays the video images of a presentation. Unlike the AIS that requires a separate telephone line for every active session, the VTS can send images to hundreds of SCRs through a single cable connection. However, there is a limit to the number of users a single cable connection can support. If the number of simultaneous ICP users exceeds this limit, additional cable connections must be used. Here are the steps which make the delivery of video possible: The user enters input in response to choices on the TV screen. The SCR captures the infrared signals generated by the remote control and sends them to the ICP. head-end. The input is captured by the AIS and relayed to other processes in the ICP. Processes within the ICP instruct the Presentation Server to play the user-selected presentation. VT S 3-16 ICP Operator Manual
  46. 46. How it Works The Presentation Server submits a play request to the VTS. VT S The VTS reads image data from a file on disk. The VTS adds Subsystem address information components add address information to the data so that n> tio orma tocan be directed it it the data so that Inf ess can be directed to to the correct SCR. ddr <A the correct SCR. Text and graphic overlays (described in the next section) are added to the image if there are any used by an application. A specialized video hardware card Sei decompresses the nfel Mov d ie Hap s py Dav Fri ends video data and e transmits it through the telephone line cable line connection to the user's SCR. Address information and overlays are sent with this transmission. The SCR captures the signal and displays the image on the TV screen. 3-18-2. ICP Operator Manual / 3-17
  47. 47. How it Works Overlays and Terminal Commands In addition to images, the VTS delivers overlays and terminal commands. Overlays Text and graphic overlays are generated by interactive applications and are displayed on top of images. These overlays are not produced as part of an image so that they can be changed easily when content changes. In fact, interactive applications can obtain the content for text and graphic overlays from a database of up-to-date information. Text and graphics embedded in an image would be much more difficult to change. Graphic Overlay Text Overlay 1 Rue Madeleine 2 Conquest of Paradise Terminal Commands In addition to images and audio, the SCR can accept terminal commands from applications. These include commands which make the SCR: • enable/disable background audio • write canned messages on a TV screen (refer to the Glossary for a definition of canned messages) • turn its message light on and off • move the screen cursor 3-18 ICP Operator Manual
  48. 48. How it Works CD Player ion at Head-end i cat A ppl ICP VT S Cable Connection ICP3-21.EPS Here is how enable/disable background audio works: Note that the When the enable background audio command is executed by an application, the MuzakTM feed VTS delivers audio from a MuzakTM feed (a connection to an external audio or CD player supplier) or CD player at the head-end. The audio is transmitted through the must be turned on manually by cable connection to an SCR which mixes the audio with the audio segments of an operator. presentations. Note that this audio is not sent like standard telephone line audio. Another command is used to disable (or mute) background audio. ICP Operator Manual / 3-19
  49. 49. How it Works NAVIGATING THROUGH PRESENTATIONS Navigation was There are two processes which permit users to navigate through presentations: first introduced in Chapter 2: The Home • the Navigation Session Task (NST) Experience. • the Presentation File Server (PF Server) Navigation Session Task The NST is an application which interprets user input to determine which presentation a user wants to visit. An NST is assigned to each session when it is created and released when the session is terminated. This assignment enables an NST to process user input by providing the Presentation Server with the presen- tation data to play. The ICP is Once assigned to a session, an NST normally remains with the session until it is configured to terminated. Note that the NST only services one session at a time (unlike most have an NST running for other ICP processes). Therefore, several NSTs are typically running within every the ICP simultaneously. telephone connection at the head-end. <inactive> <inactive> NST NST NST NST NST NST 3-20 ICP Operator Manual
  50. 50. How it Works See Chapter 7: Configuring the System for more information on how the NST can be configured by the system installer. See Appendix G: Your System to see the number of simultaneous users which can be supported by your system (this will correspond to the number of NSTs which are running on your system). Presentation File Server Do not The Presentation File Server (PF Server) reads presentations from disk files. confuse the Presentations themselves are grouped into presentation databases (PDBs). A PF Presentation File Server Server is assigned to each PDB. with the Presentation When an interactive application needs to read a presentation from a PDB, the Server. application submits its request to the corresponding PF Server. The PF Server responds by returning the correct data to that application. ICP Operator Manual / 3-21
  51. 51. How it Works Selecting a Presentation After a session has been created, the assigned NST instructs the Presentation Server to play the root presentation of a designated PDB. Content producers designate a presentation as the root. Subsequent presentations are then played under the direction of user input. Here are the steps involved in selecting a presentation: The user selects an input choice from the current presentation or presses one of the keys. special hot keys. (Some presentations do not require any input from the user. In this case, the NST simply requests the PF Server to retrieve the previous presentation.) The AIS captures the input signals transmitted by the SCR, and then delivers the signals to the NST servicing the session. 3-22 ICP Operator Manual
  52. 52. How it Works The NST tracks the available input choices for the current presentation. This information is used to validate the user's input. 001 The NST then 1111101 commands the PF 011 0 Server to read the appropriate presentation. The NST submits a play request to the Presentation Server and supplies the presentation data obtained in the previous steps. The remaining steps in the delivery of a presentation have already been discussed. ICP Operator Manual / 3-23
  53. 53. How it Works MANAGING USER SESSIONS A user must logon to the ICP in order to receive interactive content. A keypress allows users to logon to the ICP and begins a session with the ICP. Logon delivers the main menu to a user. Presentations can be accessed from the The logon and main menu area. A session lasts until the user logs off the system by pressing logoff procedures are the or keys. called session creation and session The Session Manager manages multiple active termination, sessions. Only one Session Manager is run on an respectively. ICP. When a user presses the key to logon, the Session Manager assigns processes to play presentations, interpret input, etc. When a user presses the or key, the Session Manager performs the logoff procedure. During the course of a session, control can be transferred from the NST to another interactive application. The Session Manager makes this possible as well. The end of this section describes this in detail. Creating a Session Here are the steps the Session Manager takes when creating a session: The user selects the TV channel delivering the interactive services of the ICP and presses the key. 3-24 ICP Operator Manual
  54. 54. How it Works The SCR dials the phone number of the ICP .head-end. ICP The head-end answers the incoming phone call. The keystroke is transmitted to the head-endcaptured ICP and and captured by the AIS. The AIS indicates to the Session Manager that a user wishes to logon to the ICP. The Session Manager assigns a Presentation Server, VTS and NST to service the user's session. Control is given to the session's NST so the first presentation can be delivered to the user. Input reception and audio/video playback can now occur. The Session Manager does not assign an AIS because the one which fields the initial logon request is automatically used to service the remainder of the session. Refer to Chapter 2: The Home Experience for the user’s perspective on session creation. ICP Operator Manual / 3-25
  55. 55. How it Works Terminating a Session The Session Manager also frees processes to service other sessions when a user decides to logoff. Here are the steps related to user logoff: There are The user presses the several conditions or keys on which can their remote control. result in session termination. See Chapter 10: Trouble- shooting. This keystroke is transmitted to the ICP by the the head-end by SCR and captured by the AIS. The NST (or another interactive application) servicing the session receives the notice to logoff (just as other input was received during the course of the session). 3-26 ICP Operator Manual
  56. 56. How it Works The NST instructs the Session Manager to terminate the session. The Session Manager frees the processes assigned to the session so they can service other sessions. Under the direction of the Session Manager, the AIS is instructed to close the telephone line connection to the user's SCR. This returns the telephone line to its on-hook state and makes it available for new incoming calls. Refer to Chapter 2: The Home Experience for the user’s perspective on session termination. ICP Operator Manual / 3-27
  57. 57. How it Works Starting an Application The Session The primary functions of the Session Manager have already been discussed: Manager allowing users to logon and logoff the ICP. However, the Session Manager allows any also allows the NST to give control of a session to other interactive application to start any other applications. application. A presentation consists of video images, input choices and possibly an audio stream. Note that a presentation can also contain a reference to an interactive application. When a user navigates to such a presentation, the specified applica- tion is given control of their session. Here are the steps which start an application such as What’s on TV or Today: The user navigates to a presentation which has a reference to an application. The user input is captured by the AIS. AI S 3-28 ICP Operator Manual
  58. 58. How it Works The user input is received by the NST and it instructs the Session Manager to pass control to the appropriate application. The Session Manager gives control of the session to the selected application. If none is available, the request is denied and the user must select another input choice. All subsequent input by the user is delivered to the interactive application, not the NST. This continues until the application terminates. The Session Manager returns control to the NST which replays the last presentation. From here, user input is directed to the NST as before. In the remainder of this chapter, we will explain some of the other functions which are not visible to the operator, but are important nevertheless to system opera- tion. ICP Operator Manual / 3-29
  59. 59. How it Works OTHER FUNCTIONS OF THE ICP The external functions of the ICP have already been discussed. These include: • receiving user input • playing presentations • delivering audio and video • user navigation • session creation and termination • entering and exiting interactive applications These features are the most vital to the ICP because they have a direct impact on users. However, there are also three support functions performed by the ICP. The three support functions are: • Logging messages This support function, performed by the ITS, occurs constantly while the ICP is running. It allows an operator to monitor ICP events. • Recording statistics This support function, performed by the ITS, also occurs constantly while the ICP is running. It allows the performance of the ICP to be analyzed. Note that this function of the ICP may not be available on some systems. • Updating presentation databases This process occurs frequently for some PDBs and infrequently for others depending on how often content changes. These three important support functions will now be explained in greater detail. 3-30 ICP Operator Manual
  60. 60. How it Works Logging Messages The ICP has numerous internal processes to deliver ITV to users. These pro- cesses will occassionally experience operating problems. Most problems can be handled by the system automatically. However, serious problems may require operator intervention. ICP processes record their actions in order to make troubleshooting possible (see Chapter 10: Troubleshooting). The Log Server allows ICP processes to record messages. These messages can have the following levels of severity: • regular • warning • severe A complete listing of messages produced by ICP processes can be found in Appendix A: Log Files and Messages. The Log Server receives messages from every ICP process, including the following: NST Session Manager Presentation Server Log Server VTS AIS ICP3-31.EPS ICP Operator Manual / 3-31
  61. 61. How it Works The SMT is The Log Server saves messages to a log file in order to track messages. An the operator ’s operator can examine the log file online using the Site Management Task (SMT). window to the ICP. At The SMT is described in Chapter 5: Working with the ICP and Chapter 6: periodic Monitoring the System. intervals, it polls the Log A Log Server runs on each ICP computer and all the processes on a computer Server for the messages it has use only their local Log Server. Also, each Log Server has a log file. For more received. information on the log file, see Appendix A: Log Files and Messages. Processes produce messages from the time they start until they terminate. Therefore, system installers normally configure the Log Server as one of the first processes to be started during a system startup and among the last processes to be stopped during a system shutdown. Recording Statistics The ICP can service a large number of users simultaneously. Therefore, it is very important for system processes to quickly respond to user demands. These statistics The Statistics Server allows ICP processes to record statistics which can cannot be be used to evaluate system performance and compile business- and demo- viewed by an operator. The graphic-related data. These statistics include: only system information • the number of active users at various points in time available to an operator is the • the number of times a presentation is viewed by users information provided by the • disk usage of a process SMT. 3-32 ICP Operator Manual

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