Fox NE&O Relies on Video Clarity Real-Time Monitoring

CAMPBELL, CALIF. —Video Clarity announced that Fox Networks installed an RTM 3G real-time audio and video monitoring solution in its Network Engineering and Operations lab in Los Angeles. The lab is using the RTM system to test processing equipment and sample network paths thoroughly for quality of adaptive bit rate audio and video streams, with the aim of perfecting its Internet program delivery.

“Now that we're delivering content over the Internet to more and more devices, we have to ensure the quality of the viewing experience well beyond the TV set, and the biggest challenge in doing that is testing for all the variables in formats, encoding processes, and profiles,“ said Yves Montane, director of research and development engineering for Fox Network Engineering and Operations. “The RTM 3G allows me to compare HLS video streams, which is critical for ensuring quality on tablets and smart phones. Now I no longer have to rely on visual comparison alone, which is imperfect even for someone with a trained eye and years of experience. Instead I have accurate, objective measurements to bolster the qualitative testing.”

Montane runs test material — which has been created in the lab to be intentionally challenging — through encoders from all major manufacturers to test which ones work best for which types of video on which end devices. An uncompressed reference clip runs from the video server into the RTM unit and then through different encoders, and comes out as compressed video via IP on the other side. Montane tests different profiles and different encoding processes for different scenarios to see which combinations introduce artifacts or otherwise reduce quality.

RTM compares the quality of the various streams and yields objective, quantitative measurements beyond what can be seen with even the most experienced naked eye. The results help Montane determine with objective certainty which profile and configuration will yield the best quality of video for which devices without spending all the available bandwidth, which in turn helps him decide on the equipment and processes to recommend for practical use. It also gives him definitive data to present to encoder manufacturers, who rely on labs like his to test their products and provide feedback.

The Fox lab played a role in developing RTM 3G and its ability to test HLS streams. The lab’s test material and ability to recreate real-world scenarios helped Video Clarity take the product from prototype to usable solution.