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Tektronix MPEG Video Monitor Provides Enhanced IP Video and DTV Quality Of Service Capabilities

Tektronix, a leading provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation, has announced additional features for the MTM400A MPEG Transport Stream Monitor.
Key amongst these are support for Variable Bit Rate (VBR) corrected measurements, a "monitoring by exception" Learning Mode and Video and Audio Backhaul. Part of the extensive Tektronix video test equipment platform, the MTM400A enables broadcasters and network operators to better detect signal degradation caused during transmission and distribution to find and diagnose errors more quickly to prevent viewers from experiencing loss of signal.
The worldwide DTV market continues to evolve and a second wave of DTV services are now actively being rolled out leveraging IP technology as the delivery mechanism for video distribution, contribution and broadcast services. Shifting consumer viewing behaviour combined with increasing competitive pressure is driving an explosion in broadcast channel count and overall capex investment. A key operational challenge for traditional broadcasters and Multi-Service Operators (MSO) is how to efficiently deliver superior Quality of Service (QoS) levels to maintain differentiation in this competitive market. The MTM400A supports this by providing an intuitive and simplified presentation of video quality and diagnostic information, to enable delivery of superior QoS levels in an increasingly complex broadcast environment.
Measurements defined in TR 101 290 are intended to be applied to Constant Bit Rate (CBR) transport streams and support in-depth analysis of Transport Stream, syntax, timing and content to support root cause analysis of system errors. Simply applying these measurements to a VBR stream places measurement results in doubt. The MTM400A converts VBR streams to CBR streams before applying TR 101 290 measurements, ensuring highly reliable results.
The Learning Mode on the MTM400A provides an unattended methodology to "teach" the monitoring system about the steady state conditions of the operating environment. The MTM400A learns to alarm on unacceptable changes in these steady state conditions and monitor by exception instead of simply responding to out of specification parametres that don't directly impact QoS.
A critical aspect of ensuring QoS is the ability to see and hear what it actually being transmitted. The MTM400A now supports video and audio backhaul, with the user being able to select either the entire program or just the audio for decode on the controlling PC. Alternatively, the backhauled content can be directed to a set-top box for hardware decode, a capability that is particularly useful with encrypted content.
In addition to VBR Corrected Measurements, Learning Mode and Video/Audio Backhaul, the line rate IP interface of the MTM400A now supports IPv6 - the latest generation of Internet Protocol (IP) - and provides enhanced capabilities for IGMP, the protocol used by IPv4 systems to report IP multicast group memberships to neighbouring multicast routers. Also, the multi-session IP Video KPIs of the MTM400A have been extended to include max/min session bit rate alarms as well as enhanced support for Media Delivery Index (MDI). MDI is important for monitoring CBR MPEG Transport Streams distributed over IP networks in conjunction with reliable TR 101 290 and other TS measurements. These measurements have been extended to include PCR-PTS cross layer timing analysis, intended to identify encoder timing issues in real time.
The MTM400A with the powerful FlexVuPlus user interface leverages the deep measurement capabilities of the MTM platform to deliver greatly simplified DTV monitoring and diagnostics. The MTM400A with FlexVuPlus provides a configurable common user interface for both confidence and diagnostic monitoring that improves communication handover between operator and engineer.
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