By Dan Murray
What appears to be nearly insatiable demand for streaming content is driving video providers to seek more scalable and cost-effective ways to convert and package video content into a wide variety of formats and deliver it out to customers. But there are lot of pieces in the puzzle to consider, and one of the most important is to ensure optimal video quality from acquisition to delivery. Delivering content reliably from multiple sources to millions of screens is certainly not a trivial problem. And ultimately the last thing you want is for customers to switch to the competition because the quality of their viewing experience failed to meet expectations.
Pay TV operators, broadcasters and OTT providers are increasingly turning to cloud-based workflows, like Amazon Web Services (AWS) Media Services that provide the capability to ingest, process, package and deliver video content at scale. AWS Media Services is a three-part solution comprising: AWS Elemental MediaLive, a real-time video encoding service that works in combination with AWS Elemental MediaPackage for content origination, just-in-time packaging and encryption, and AWS Elemental MediaConvert, a file-based video transcoding service.
Tektronix enters the picture with its quality control solutions, Sentry and Aurora, both cloud-based video quality control (QC) solutions that provide automated video quality assurance and comprehensive QC, quality of service (QoS), quality of experience (QoE) and picture quality (PQ) measurements across any network.
Here’s how they work:
AWS Elemental MediaLive works with AWS Elemental MediaPackage for content origination, just-in-time packaging and encryption. Sentry provides monitoring and diagnostics for the content (as well as the Amazon CloudFront CDN) and delivers end-to-end measurement and reporting on issues in live streams that impact customers’ viewing experience the most, often before they lead to actual customer disruption. Sentry also offers true video QoE and picture quality analysis on encrypted networks. A software-based solution, Sentry can be deployed where it’s needed in cloud or hybrid network environments.
AWS Elemental MediaConvert is a file-to-file video transcoding service with packaging and encryption capabilities that can function as a standalone service or within a larger video workflow. By using Aurora with AWS Elemental MediaConvert, video providers can automate file QC on Amazon S3 storage to ensure a reliable and high-quality VOD viewing experience. For OTT services, Aurora’s perceptual video quality and TekMOS picture scoring reveals any encoding and alignment issues to ensure a quality viewer experience.
Depending on how workflows are structured, Aurora can perform QC testing of files in Amazon S3 folders from a web-based user interface, through an API or through Amazon S3 watch-folder automation. Additional capabilities include standards compliance checks, DRM support and features to enable next generation video deployment, such as 4K, HEVC and HDR.
Cloud-based video workflows like AWS Media Services give pay TV operators, broadcasters and OTT provides a platform for new service innovation, flexibility and quick time to market in a pay-as-you-grow model. Tektronix, as a trusted AWS partner, provides through Sentry and Aurora the visibility and tools to operationalize video networks and ensure top performance, proactive diagnostics and the quality customers expect to minimize churn.
Be sure to stop by booth SU5006 at NAB Show April 9-12 in Las Vegas to see Sentry and Aurora in action. We’ll be showing quality assurance monitoring of streaming through the AWS MediaLive encoder and MediaPackage ABR packager across the AWS CloudFront CDN.