We often get asked how Amb-OS came about...and how it works. To save you from having to ask us too...we thought we'd share the answer in one quick, easy to reach place.
The system is controlled by redundant FTP servers at the satellite head end. Each AMR-100 is "fed" programs via satellite. As the unit captures the file, it's stored on the Amb-OS receiver.
The available programs then appear as files on the AMR-100 which can be "pushed" or "pulled" over a local area network connection (Ethernet) to a station's automation system.
This powerful AMR-100 can also play back files on a schedule via our User Interface (UI). In this way, a station could use the AMR-100 as a slave to their automation equipment (triggered by time or a relay) or as a backup playback device.
The AMR-100 is also capable of "streaming through" live programs via its audio ports. Several programs from the Focus Satellite Network and Ambassador's satellite network will be fed via these channels.
How it Happened
Until the advent of satellite technology, the delivery of radio programming to religious formatted radio stations was primarily through some pre-recorded medium such as reel-to-reel tape, cassette, CD or LP. There were numerous problems with such a system: maintaining audio fidelity, the incremental cost of new stations, last-minute changes were cost-prohibitive and duplicating and shipping expenses remained on a steady rise.
In the mid to late 1980's, an effective solution was satellite technology. This allowed program producers to send one product from one point (satellite head-end) to multiple points (radio stations) in high fidelity. This was a tremendous help to program producers. However, at the same time, radio stations raised two arguments against this change: 1) The burden of capturing the broadcast had been shifted to radio stations which were already resource-strapped and 2) There were few convenient technological methods for capturing the audio being sent via satellite.
So, in an effort to minimize those arguments, some program producers offered their program on the hour and half-hour throughout the entire day. This made it possible for a station to simply play the feed live and thereby eliminating the need to record the program.
How Amb-OS Meets the Industry's Need
Today, the technological landscape has changed dramatically. There are numerous computer and enhanced digital media systems available to capture, store and replay programs via satellite. Gone is the need for redundancy on a 24-hour basis. Moreover, many stations are avoiding satellite altogether by "downloading" their programs via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites hosted by the program's producer.
Even still, vestiges of the old delivery platform remain: the inefficient use of space segment by multiple program feeds, forcing stations to capture audio based on the head-end schedule ("push") rather than when the station wants to retrieve the file ("pull"), and the audio is being converted from the digital domain to analog on the output of the receiver (as opposed to remaining digital throughout the distribution chain).
There has been increasing pressure from radio stations to obtain programs via FTP in the past few years. There are numerous reasons this is the case: the greater availability and lower cost to broadband access nationwide, improved inter-connectivity of automation systems with Internet access, and greater flexibility of automation systems importing and scheduling files obtained from a variety of sources.
FTP is an effective tool for transporting audio files between locations. However, as a primary distribution tool for broadcasters, doing so via the Internet has the potential of creating a bottleneck. For example, if one 30-minute program is approximately 30MB in size, and 700 stations need that program each day, the FTP hosting site would need the throughput capacity of 21,000MB every day with peak demands likely exceeding that amount. And that is just one program.
So, the answer is to create a Satellite-delivered File Transfer (SFT) platform where the file is transmitted once and captured on the receiver end. Amb-OS Media has developed a transmission platform which eliminates some of the redundancies, improves reliability and maintains high fidelity by preserving audio files in their digital form.