By Ralph Bachofen, Triveni Digital
The solution is to deploy an end-to-end video monitoring and analysis solution designed to identify and resolve video and audio quality issues, from the 10GigE core network all the way to the edge QAM modulator, while ensuring compliance with audio loudness standards and legislation.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that not all video and audio monitoring solutions are created equally. This article outlines three key features that operators should look for in a transport stream analysis and monitoring system in order to guarantee superior quality of service (QoS) for viewers.
High throughput is important
Beyond choosing a system with a 10GigE interface, it is absolutely essential that operators take a close look at the level of throughput supported. Many 10GigE transport stream analysis and monitoring systems today only allow operators to utilize a fraction of the monitoring functionality through the 10Gig interface.
Given the high bandwidth of today’s cable TV services, it’s best to choose a 10GigE transport stream analysis and monitoring systems system that supports a higher throughput while maintaining all monitoring capabilities. If an operator were to use a low-throughput system, they may need to turn off certain capabilities, such as closed caption monitoring and analysis. This can lead to video and audio quality issues within the broadcast transmission.
By choosing a high-throughput (e.g., 6 GB) transport stream analysis and monitoring system, operators can support far more capabilities while saving significant rack space, reducing power consumption, and therefore minimizing operating expenses.
Real-time filtering speeds up resolution
An obvious advantage of transitioning to a 10GigE networking infrastructure is that it allows cable operators to add additional services to their offering. The drawback is that it becomes harder to quickly detect transport stream errors. When monitoring multiple video signals, operators need to know whether or not a transport stream error will make a serious impact on their customers’ QoS.
To tackle this issue, look for a 10GigE monitoring system that offers automated stream comparison that allows users to check for and report on expected relationships between digital video streams.
Choosing a 10GigE monitoring system that classifies and filters errors based on error severity scales defined by SCTE-142, the cable industry’s standard for transport stream error verification, is also vital, as it allows operators to determine which errors require a timely resolution, as well as those that can be ignored.
Don’t make loudness and closed captioning an afterthought
Audio has become an important part of the video experience. To reduce inconsistent audio levels, which are especially prevalent between programming and advertisements, cable operators should look for a test and monitoring system that can analyze DTV streams for variations in audio loudness and confirm compliance with audio loudness standards like ATSC A/85 and ITU-R BS.1770, which legislation like the U.S. CALM Act is based upon.
Through an advanced monitoring system, cable operators can log loudness levels in real time and adjust those values based on a predetermined number that they have set. If signals drop above or below the recommended threshold, the system alerts engineers, who can then remotely adjust the audio stream through a web-based interface. Later on, operators can look through a detailed analysis provided by the monitoring system to pinpoint where the violation occurred in the programming. This will allow them to eliminate future occurrences, ensuring an exceptional audio experience for viewers.
Having an end-to-end transport stream monitoring and analysis solution with advanced capabilities such as 10GigE high-throughput interface, intelligent filtering, and audio monitoring, cable operators can quickly and cost-effectively address transport stream errors and deliver a superior QoS to customers.
Ralph Bachofen is vice president of sales and marketing for Triveni Digital. Reach him at [email protected].