An effective strategy for monitoring broadcast audio loudness levels


TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
One of the factors affecting a television viewer’s satisfaction and overall quality of experience is the consistency of the audio level of the programming. Inconsistent loudness levels between channels or between programming and advertisements can ruin a viewer’s television watching experience. Over the past several years, erratic audio levels have become such a source of contention among television viewers worldwide that countries have created guidelines and standards designed to minimize audio-level discrepancies.
Legislation in Europe (EBU, AGCOM) require broadcasters to provide evidence that they are utilizing equipment to properly measure audio loudness levels of content as well as detailed records of the measurements and their adherence to government-mandated standards. As a result, it is imperative for broadcasters and TV stations to establish an effective solution for monitoring audio loudness.
The best way to maintain compliance with regulatory standards and identify potential audio issues is to deploy a comprehensive MPEG-2/MPEG-4 transport stream monitoring system. By identifying problematic content, transport stream monitoring systems allow stations to inform the content source or creator of the error-ridden content and thus ensure that the loudness levels of future content are in line with parameters acceptable to most viewers.
From a user-friendly graphical user interface, engineers can monitor and troubleshoot DTV transport streams to ensure their integrity, reliability, and compliance with all standards. Spot checks are performed after the TV signal has passed through the broadcaster’s processing equipment to verify the level of the audio as it’s heard by viewers. The DTV transport stream monitoring system generates a timestamp and picture thumbnail during potential standards violations to verify whether commercial content was present at the time of the violation, helping engineers more easily determine the source of the error so that they can comply with audio loudness standards.
Errors are categorized according to severity based on regional standards and practices so that engineers can quickly determine which error needs immediate attention. The errors are classified as critical enough to take the transport stream or program off-air, capable of affecting quality of service, or those that are simply missing a component or technically non-conformant. After identifying an error, the system sends meaningful alarms to station engineers via text message or e-mail notifying them of the issue so that they can more rapidly troubleshoot errors as well as analyze and resolve chronic or networkwide issues. Utilizing the error-severity scale as the basis for analysis and alarm generation, engineers can focus on those issues that are most important to viewers, advertisers, and a station’s bottom line.
Some of today’s DTV transport stream monitoring systems can provide continuous real-time logging of loudness measurements within a broadcaster’s end-to-end monitoring workflow, taking standards-based measurements of loudness levels on all audio PIDs in the transport streams being monitored, as well as typical measurement and reporting of short-term and long-term loudness values (LKFS).
Aside from using loudness measurement, error reporting, and export capabilities to identify programming or advertising loudness issues, DTV transport stream systems are a valuable tool for maintaining viewers’ quality of service. The monitoring system’s loudness measurement data offers stations an accurate insight of the viewer experience both in real time and over an extended period of time, indicating programming or advertising commonly associated with loudness issues so that the broadcaster can resolve the audio level issue with the content creator.
Utilizing a sophisticated DTV transport stream monitor like Triveni Digital’s StreamScope™ platform, broadcasters, cable, telco, satellite, mobile TV, and IPTV operators can accurately monitor their audio content to ensure compliance with today’s complex and ever-evolving broadcast standards. By effectively eliminating errors that have the potential to cause service outages, users can deliver a more streamlined television experience to viewers.
Ralph Bachofen is vice president of sales and head of marketing at Triveni Digital. He can be contacted at RBachofen@TriveniDigital.com

Tags: iss067 | dtv transport | mpeg2 | mpeg4 transport | triveni digital | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Visionary Solutions at NAB 2012

    Visionary Solutions at NAB 2012

  • Triveni Digital at NAB 2012

    Triveni Digital at NAB 2012


Articles
Smashing the WTA Tour
Danny Ridler The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is the global leader in women’s professional sport with more than 2500 players representing nearly 100 nations competing for a record $146 million in prize money. The 2018 WTA competitive season includes 54 events and four Grand Slams in 30 countries. In 2017, the WTA was watched around the world by a total TV audience of 500 million – with host broadcast services provided by NEP UK.
Tags: iss133 | tennis | wta | nep | outside broadcast | ob | Danny Ridler
Contributing Author Danny Ridler Click to read or download PDF
What is next in OTT
Mary Kay Evans In the past year alone, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the amount of OTT content that’s being streamed. In the first quarter of 2018, there’s been a 114 percent year-over-year growth in streaming video hours, and those numbers are only expected to rise. With OTT revenue predicted to reach $16.6B in 2018, a 40% gain over last year, there’s no question that OTT is booming, and that there’s never been a more critical time to pay attention to the space.
Tags: iss133 | ott | verizon | cisco | Mary Kay Evans
Contributing Author Mary Kay Evans Click to read or download PDF
IBC in a post Brexit world
Peter Savage 2 Cast your mind forward and we are not in 2018 but next year and, yes, it’s you and me walking to the departure lounge to catch the plane to IBC just as I, and perhaps also you, have done for the last 25 years. (By the way, where is my long service award – and perhaps a new pair of shoes as I must, surely, have walked the equivalent of five Caminos covering the 12 halls in the Rai). We are at the gate and my imagination kicks in as I hypothesize on what the trip might look like next year. I leave it to you to decide which is closest to what might be to come.
Tags: iss133 | azule | brexit | ibc | finance | Peter Savage 2
Contributing Author Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
The Pace of Change
Dick Hobbs - new

The youngest human to stand on the moon (so far) was Charles Moss, the lunar module pilot of Apollo 16. Charlie had a wonderful claim: his father witnessed the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, and lived to see his son on the moon.

Does anything capture the speed of technological advance better than that? The whole of the history of powered flight in one lifetime.

Tags: iss133 | state of the nation | st2110 | st2110-10 | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Ruth Matos Interview - A Career Unfolds
Ruth Matos We first met Ruth when we employed her as a student to help with our live studio at BVE in 2013. We were struck by her determination, passion and ‘I’ll do anything to help’ attitude. We became friends of Facebook and have since seen her career in the industry develop and unfold. We thought it was about time to catch up and share her inspiring story of where she is now, how she got there and the challenges she has faced along the way.
Tags: iss133 | interview | filmming | career | education | Ruth Matos
Contributing Author Ruth Matos Click to read or download PDF