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coverstory1012_cover story 10/12/2015 18:22 Page 6 not want to be offering a 4K service without this ability to know how far you can push your systems before they break down. Rohde & Schwarz: With the addition of 4K to the OTT services, operators will face potentially unpredictable new monitoring requirements as a result of the higher streaming standards in place, including Apple HLS, Adobe HDS, Microsoft Smooth Streaming, and MPEG-DASH. While 4K video clearly impacts bandwidth requirements, recent advancements in video compression algorithms have resolved these issues. Relying on the HEVC video So change is a constant, and while service providers may opt for one standard over another pro tem, they have to retain the ability to switch relatively easily if and when it becomes advantageous to do so. From a manufacturer’s point of view, we have to enable them to do this, and that means bandwidths. A flexible software based platform mitigates risk for future expansion or change of protocols, standards, resolutions or measurements. A well designed software T&M solution allows more automated and faster fault finding techniques, reducing overall OPEX, while remaining flexible enough for future expansion, also protecting CAPEX well into the future. S3: There is no question that 4K distribution in the home will put increasingly more pressure on home gateway bandwidth. Whereas core networks have large amounts of fibre and consequently are better placed to adapt to the growing bandwidth demands of 4K content, bandwidth in whole-home environments is affected by the simultaneous use of multiple devices within the home. As such, we’re actively working with customers compression standard, operators can provide a much better video quality than SD or HD at the same bit rate. Having said that, operators need T&M equipment in place that can monitor HEVC video, as HEVC is significantly more complex than its predecessor H.264. Operators should choose a system that is flexible, offering support for a wide range of video compression standards, including MPEG-2, H.264, and HEVC. Selecting a system that is softwareupgradeable is also important because it allows operators to easily adapt to support future video formats like 4K and 8K, as well as advancements in video compression. In addition, being able to analyse the buffer in real time is critical in the 4K environment, since this is often where issues such as pixelisation may occur. offering good support for all the standards even if we think one or two of them are moribund, and others are promising but not yet widely adopted. Tektronix: Many content providers use multiple ABR standards, so yes, it is necessary to support them. Having said that, there are distinct similarities between the multiple standards, which simplifies the development process somewhat. As far as DRM is concerned, that is an issue if you want to look at the video and audio quality post packager. In DVB systems, which do not use DRM, but instead use conditional access, it is typical to use a bulk de-crypter in front of the monitoring device, which then allows the monitoring of video and audio in the clear. Torque: No, we don’t think so. What standards are supported by operators and T&M vendors alike is really dictated by opportunity. If no one is using a particular standard, it is unlikely any profit-driven organisation will invest in supporting it, unless there is some clear and positive future benefit. Triveni: Choosing a video quality assurance solution that supports multiple standards is important for providing superior QoS on all devices. Although this can be a challenging prospect for operators, since it increases complexity and costs, it’s an imperative feature in today’s multiscreen world. VeEX: In a perfect world, yes and often as T&M we are victims of dealing with the global scene where not everyone is doing the same thing. Here, if you want to be successful you need the flexibility of supporting most, if not all standards. However, the core of monitoring is not on the complexity of Streaming and DRM standards, but on the metrics that can be derived, proactively calculated and measured to ensure proper bandwidth for service delivery. “What standards are supported is really dictated by opportunity.” as they transition to 4K to ensure they have T&M capabilities in place to manage bandwidth constraints, not only in the delivery process to the home but also within it. This requires running T&M activities at full 4K resolution with consumer devices to accurately capture the end-user experience. Tektronix: If HEVC/H.265 is used to encode 4k/UHD, it will require about twice the bandwidth of HD content encoded using AVC/H.264. This makes it likely that operators will attempt to use higher levels of compression to keep bandwidth to a minimum. If this is done, it is critical that the content is monitored to ensure that excessive compression artefacts such as blockiness, softness and washed out images have not been introduced by the encoding process. Torque: It is really just more of the same. The change from HD to 4K is pretty much like the change from SD to HD: the resolution went up a lot. However, the bitrate stayed about the same given the efficiencies of better encoding algorithms. Triveni: Currently, there are multiple VeEX: There is a myth here - that because you have the best T&M gea