Totally TV!

Secure performance quality for TV and video services

The world of television is changing radically. With more intelligence, interaction and convergent infrastructures, the television of tomorrow is becoming an element in a new multimedia environment. More and more consumers are switching to programmes broadcast by specialised providers independently of time and location. Satellite and cable operators are losing their special position as transporters because television programmes are also broadcast directly through the Internet.

The television of the future

In the age of modern network infrastructures and convergence to the Next Generation Network (NGN) or ALL-IP network, well-known services such as linear television, which has previously been aired by the TV stations on cable, satellite or terrestrial via broadcast, are now being ported via new transmission media.

The most common designation for television which is broadcast or received via the Internet is “Internet Protocol Television” (IPTV). IPTV generally designates the digital transmission of audio and video signals via a broadband Internet connection.

Through the broadband Internet connection, genuine interaction with the consumer is possible, through which new applications and services such as video-on-demand (VoD) can be realised.

At the same time, there is a trend for end users on the Internet to use platforms such as “YouTube” and “Amazon Prime Instant Video” as video portals for their daily consumption of video material. On the same basis, services such as “Zattoo” which conquer the market and enable live television via the internet.

We need to differentiate clearly between IPTV, WebTV and video portals, although they all provide a video format customised to the service, which is specially encoded and packaged in containers and delivered locally or globally to the consumer.

 

IPTV under the the microscope 

In the increasingly complex world of next-generation video services, knowledge about the quality of service is a crucial factor in the fight for market share and customer satisfaction. It is precisely here that the research group data networks from the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and zafaco GmbH have developed quality measurement systems for IP-based audio/video services.

The subjective and objective quality of the media data is derived from the current IP data stream (live and non-reference measurements) and, alongside an analysis of the network parameters and the quality of service (QoS), it is based on an analysis of the video codec layer using “deep packet inspection”.

The evaluation of the quality of IPTV services from the perspective of the end customer is determined by measuring network parameters such as delay, jitter, packet loss according to RFC3350 and RFC 3357 among others.

The evaluation also takes account of video quality parameters according to ETSI TR 101 290 and Broadband Forum TR-126 as well as MQS values (Media Quality Score) for the video and audio signals of the streams transmitted using the set-top box and its remote control. Fast-zapping and error correction mechanisms according to RFC 5109 are also included in the quality assessment.

In order to map the customers in a realistic simulation, a mix of individual services such as VoIP, high-speed Internet and IPTV can be performed in a continuous IPTV benchmark.

 

WebTV and streaming under the microscope 

In 2018, Global Video Traffic will constitute up to 79% of the end-user traffic. More than half of this is provided by video on demand providers (VoD) like YouTube, Maxdome, Amazon Prime Instant Video or Netflix (Source: Cisco Visual Network Index, 06.2014).

This presents a major challenge for Internet service providers if they want to provide excellent quality of service to their customers. For this, they not only need to ensure the quality of service on their own network, but also pay special attention to the supply of video content via diverse peerings and Content Delivery Networks (CDN).

The WebTV Test of the kyago platform performs measurements in the over-the-top approach to different video content providers and to the zafaco data reference system. For the retrieval of a video, a Firefox web browser, with corresponding plug-ins is used for analysis of all the main components of the video to be tested.

The measurement is performed using adaptive streaming. Depending on the VoD provider, different streaming methods are offered, including Adobe Flash, Silverlight and Apple HLS. Here, various video containers are also used, including MP4, WEBM, 3GP, FLV with the typical audio (AAC, MP3, OGG) and video codecs (MPEG4, FLV, VP8, VP9 or H.264).

The quality analysis is carried out according to the Perceptual Evaluation of Video Quality Streaming (PEVQ-S) method of OPTICOM. This is based on the PEVQ algorithm standardized according to ITU-R Rec. J.247.