Tektronix, an industry-leading innovator of video quality monitoring solutions, has unlocked end-to-end ABR monitoring with unveiling of decryption and decode functionality for the Sentry ABR video quality monitoring platform.
Adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR) is the underlying technology used with multiscreen, on-demand streaming services for PCs, laptops, smartphones, tablets and TVs. Also called TV Everywhere or OTT (over the top), multiscreen video services use ABR to break content into small fragments of compressed content for transmission to viewing devices. With the increased amount of content delivered via ABR, service providers need to be able to pinpoint errors in the network quickly to reduce operational expenses related to trouble calls and mean time to detect and repair (MTTD, MTTR) issues.
Tektronix Sentry products are widely deployed and are used to provide vital QoE (Quality of Experience) and PVQ (Perceptual Video Quality) information to network operators concerned about the experience they are providing their customers. With the addition of decryption and decode functionality, Sentry ABR gives service providers the breadth and depth of monitoring they are accustomed to with linear-based services. After transcoding in a typical ABR workflow, a video stream is fragmented into fixed time duration fragments, encrypted and Digital Rights Management (DRM) applied. Sentry ABR is now capable of viewing this encrypted content to evaluate the actual viewing experience, or QoE as well as determining PVQ.
"With the future of video delivery switching from linear to ABR, it is critical that service providers get the same level of monitoring with ABR services as they do with linear to truly understand the customer experience," said Charlie Dunn, general manager, Video Product Line, Tektronix. "Given the complexity of ABR content delivery, there is a lot that can go wrong, and service providers need to know about it before they start getting calls from subscribers. Our solution now offers end-to-end QoE monitoring throughout the ABR workflow so operators can quickly identify, troubleshoot and resolve issues."
An End-to-End Solution from File-Based QC to Delivered ABR Content
As the industry moves more towards ABR for delivery of all services, the amount of video content that must be tested and verified is growing quickly. Testing a high volume of small fragments and files at multiple bit rates is especially challenging. For this requirement, Tektronix offers Aurora, which provides fast and scalable file-based QC and has tests specifically designed to catch the most common causes of ABR streaming problems. When used in conjunction with the frame accurate Hydra Player operators have the ability to visualize their content and any issues detected. Operators can then add review information for those responsible for producing the ABR content.
From there, the Sentry platform is used to detect QoS (Quality of Service) anomalies in the network at the IP and MPEG TS layers as well as in QoE, identifying issues that represent the bulk of trouble calls from subscribers including frozen video, tiling/macroblocking and audio disruptions or audio-level and loudness issues. Within an ABR network, Sentry ABR is then used to ensure the availability of content and provide comprehensive QoE analysis on each stream at each bitrate in real time.