|Solutions for monitoring the service quality in Digital TV networks
Traditional television technology has had over half a century to mature and stabilise. In fact the techniques deployed over 50 years ago such as the transmission system (PAL/NTSC/SECAM) and the broadcast techniques (analogue terrestrial transmission) are still in use today. Now technology is going Digital and the transition have to be closely monitored to be able to give viewers the same Quality of Experience as older technologies, free from artifacts and Digital macroblocking.
TV viewers and advertisers have come to expect near-perfect quality in terms of availability. A 10-second drop-out during prime time is considered a major failure. When introducing new television distribution technologies such as digital terrestrial television (DTT), Digital Cable (QAM) or Television over xDSL/fibre, the TV viewer will compare the new service to the old and automatically expect the new service to match or exceed the old in terms of picture quality and availability. Even small changes in service behavior will feel disruptive in the eyes of the customer and contribute to potential churn.
If this is not the case - either due to technical difficulties or human error - the new service will quickly be perceived as being problematic and unreliable. Restoring the reputation of the service is both a time consuming and costly process. Bad press and a perception by the general viewing public of a poor service will considerably hamper the development of Digital TV.
The only way to avoid this negative spiral is to actively manage the service quality in the network. This implies a need for continuous monitoring so that potential problems can be detected and corrected as fast as possible. Continuous monitoring of TV multicasts can be achieved cost-effectively in triple-play networks by deploying the VB220 and VB120 IP-PROBEs from BRIDGE Technologies.
The simplified system diagram shows VideoBRIDGE measurement and monitoring hardware starting in the Head End with several VB220 blades. The Head End is also equipped with a reference signal generator; the VB230 for RTP or UDP packet generation and the VB280 Content Extractor for content monitoring and loss of scrambling alarming. Downstream a VB220 modules gives full monitoring capability on the hand over points from the core network to the regional network and finally to a local access network. The access network can be FTTH or xDSL, and finally the microVB technology will give insight into the home network.
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