In Broadcast - IBC 2015 - 14


14

www.inbroadcast.com | IBC2015 InShow Guide | 11-15 September

Are You Achieving The
Quality You Think You Are?
Whether deploying a service for broadcast or IPTV, Video Clarity's RTM can help
monitor and measure the output in real-time...
By Adam Schadle,
Vice President

A

ll broadcasters and service
providers want to deliver the
highest possible quality in each
delivered channel in order to keep
viewers - not to mention regulators
and advertisers - happy. Most put a
lot of effort and thought into choosing
the right processing equipment and
settings for the job.
But even the most careful planning
is not always enough, especially if
there was insufficient advance testing,
because television signals that you
expect to perform a certain way under
certain conditions don't always come
out that way on the other end. Like
it or not, things do go wrong. That's
why long-term testing with empirical
quality-measurement data, even while
programming is on the air, is critical
to understanding the actual quality
trends of your programming from
week to week.
Monitor Over Time
In particular, quality testing is
important for any deployed or soonto-be-deployed solution. The idea is to
monitor a channel over time - hours
or potentially days - and produce a
running average of measurements
in real-time. This exercise helps you
spot anomalies and, if done using
the proper algorithms, gain a true
understanding of the quality of
your service from your customers'
perspective.
Video Clarity's RTM real-time audio
and video monitoring solution is
built for that very purpose. RTM uses
full-reference testing - whereby a
per-frame quality score is created by
comparing the source content to the
downstream version - to test for both
performance and perceptual quality
accurately over time.

The unit has a builtin
decoder/scaler
that
automatically decodes the
video and can also reduce the
resolution and frame rate of
the source feed appropriately
to match any downstream
version, all while the streams
are being ingested.
Under the hood, RTM
automatically aligns the inputs
from the live channel with
the streams coming out of
the transcoder or statistical
multiplexer and creates a
comparative score in real-time. It
continuously monitors a channel or
program to find the running min,
max, and average quality scores on
the DMOS index using the MS-SSIM
algorithm.
As a result, you get scores that give
you a true idea of what your viewers
are seeing and hearing on their own
devices. The unit allows threshold
settings for detecting and recording
unacceptable quality events - along
with the content immediately before
and after them - so that you can play
a recorded comparison against the
source feed and diagnose significant
problems.
Figure 1 shows a general signal flow
from a source through a processing
device to the RTM system. RTM not
only reports video and audio scores,
but it also reports recordings as they
are made during breaks in user-set
quality thresholds. An example graph
depicts a generalised DMOS score of
a repeated video segment test. The
test compares two different bit-rate
settings of the same encoder and plots
them against each other.
Not only does RTM save the
information to a text log for later

Testing with VideoClarity's RTM helps monitor and measure output

Fig. 1. General signal flow from a source through a processing device
to the RTM system. The graph compares the DMOS scores
of two different settings of the encoder or transcoder.

review, but the running scores appear
graphically in real-time in the RTM
interface.
Importantly,
because
everything is being done in real-time,
you can use RTM's measurements to
fine-tune your output on the fly by
simply adjusting the settings on your
transcoder or statistical multiplexer.
You'll be able to see the effect of those
adjustments immediately in the realtime graphs on your screen to know
whether quality is improving.
Beneficial Results
Real-time quality testing with RTM
is particularly beneficial in live-event
programming, such as the Olympics,
the World Cup, or other location-based
sports events, where network feeds
are created specifically for the event.
Applying RTM to these temporary
feeds means you can measure them
before and during service to get an
understanding of quality and the
performance of your processing
equipment, so that you can then make
adjustments accordingly.
Whether you're deploying a service

for broadcast or IPTV, no matter what
the resolution or bit-rate, testing
with RTM helps you monitor and
measure your output continuously and
automatically over any period of time
you choose.
It's far more accurate and practical
than having humans do the job of
long-term quality monitoring, and in
the process, you get hard data - so
that you can determine whether your
network and processing equipment are
working the way you expect.

"...The idea is to monitor
a channel over time -
hours or potentially days
- and produce a running
average of measurements
in real-time"
Adam Schadle
Vice President, Video Clarity


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In Broadcast - IBC 2015 - Cover3
In Broadcast - IBC 2015 - Cover4
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