Video Clarity Inc., provider of market-leading audio and video quality measurement and analysis systems, today announced reduced reference operating mode, the newest enhancement to its RTM real-time audio and video monitoring solution. In reduced reference mode, RTM systems can be used to provide continuous channel-monitoring and fault-recording, based on the actual original source program, from anywhere in the world.
Reduced reference mode is intended for secondary content distributors such as cable, IPTV, direct broadcast, and satellite providers that receive programs from content originators and deliver them to the end viewing audience. Unlike content originators, who can compare the entire original source signal to the entire processed signal nonstop, in real time (i.e., full reference), content distributors do not have access to the original source signal. With RTM's reduced reference mode, content distributors can now use RTM to measure their incoming signal against representative picture and audio source data sent from an RTM system located at the originator site (i.e., reduced reference), thus allowing them to assess signal quality and verify whether errors were caused in transmission or from source processing devices that are outside their facility and control.
"We've heard from customers that they would like a way to base ongoing quality-of-service tests on upstream content from the originator, so with this solution we're giving them something they've never had before -- the ability to compare their signal to that of geographically removed source channels," said Blake Homan, president of Video Clarity. "Reduced reference mode is specifically targeted to the program originator in collaboration with their distribution service providers that are quality-conscious and continuously looking for new and innovative systems to increase their quality of service."
When a content originator sends a satellite feed to its secondary distributors, an RTM system on the content originator end sends out data representing the original audio and video signal via the Internet or a dedicated network data path. Secondary distributors can subscribe to that data stream so that when they receive a distributed feed from the content originator, their RTM unit will compare the incoming video signal with the source data from the original signal before any processing takes place. The RTM uses this comparison to test for video and audio quality continuously and then also records error events such as picture breakups, freeze-frames, and black frames. RTM automatically records these faults based on user set error thresholds so that the content distributor can take appropriate action.
The RTM reduced reference method is unique because it provides the reference data from the content source so that it can then be used to understand the root cause of any lower-than-expected A/V quality event. Another unique benefit is the number of audio performance characteristics that can be monitored and found, such as audio dropout, artifact, and low-quality differences from the source. Moreover, the RTM reduced reference method achieves an accurate lip sync measurement using only standard audio/video signals.
RTM reduced reference testing will give users a new option for finding problems that they might know about but have not been able to pinpoint. It will also provide an easy way to find low-quality events they do not yet understand or know that they have. Finally, it will enable users to monitor a high-value program or event and make sure the quality of service is maintained as compared to the program originator signal.
Video Clarity will demonstrate RTM with reduced reference mode at the 2014 NAB Show in booth SU11607. The feature will be available in the third quarter. More information about Video Clarity and the company's products is available at www.videoclarity.com.