The iPhone continues to bring new tools for enabling mobile TV on the notoriously closed device. The newest iPhone brought new streaming media capabilities; however, the gift came with the added complexity of Apple's HTTP Live Streaming protocol.
While HTTP Live Streaming can traverse firewalls and proxy servers* — unlike protocols such as RTP and RTSP — it requires video to be segmented into small clips and downloaded in correct sequence. This makes real-time video and transport monitoring even more critical, according to video test system company IneoQuest, which recently introduced new systems for monitoring and troubleshooting iPhone video quality.
Aimed at content providers, IneoQuest's new offerings include the Cricket HLS probe and IQSegVue.
The Cricket HLS probe monitors video transport stream metrics including HTTP-based file loss, bit rates, outages and audio quality. Test data goes to IneoQuest’s iVMS for analysis and reporting.
The probe can measure the video transport stream across multiple locations, both regionally and nationally, after the HTTP segmentation and before and after subscriber distribution. Multiple Cricket HLS probes located across the network can be integrated with iVMS for efficient correlation of real-time measurements captured at the Cricket locations.
When located before the distribution network, Cricket HLS verifies proper operation of the encoder providing deep-packet segment inspection and analyzing the HTTP commands to assure protocol compliance before transmission. At the edge of the distribution network, Cricket HLS mirrors a subscriber’s iPhone
The IQSegVue monitors streaming video quality at the delivery point. The IQSegVue serves as a video player on an iPhone or iPod touch and allows field technicians to display live video broadcast sessions to evaluate QoE in real time. Real-time statistics and video quality metrics can be displayed easily.
IneoQuest will demonstrate the Cricket HLS probe and IQSegVue at Streaming Media West 2009, Nov. 17-19, 2009 at the San José McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, CA, Booth 420.
* Even better from content providers' point of view is the fact that HTTP streaming doesn't need an additional app. Because it works through a browser, services don't need to negotiate Apple's and AT&T’s App Store approval cycle. However, streaming live video straight to the browser puts you into the rocky territory already plowed by Slingbox, which was blacked out by AT&T on the grounds that "applications … which redirect a TV signal to a personal computer are specifically prohibited under our terms of service."