QoS Checked at a DTT Headend With Harris

OSLO, NORWAY -- Media Netwerk is a media service provider to the Norwegian and wider Scandinavian broadcast markets, and part of the Mediatec Group. At Media Netwerk, we have three main business focus areas. They are post production, Media Bank archive and asset management, and technical operations.

We have developed technical operation solutions in a number of areas within the broadcast workflow. They cover media contribution, distribution, IPTV, OTT and headend operations. Our Contribution Network provides point-to-point and point-to-multipoint connectivity through fibre optic cables. Through this network we operate contribution services for more than 1,500 live sports events per year. Among these we support all Norwegian horse trotting stadia (a popular sport in Norway) plus all ice hockey arenas in Sweden.

We have started to use test and measurement equipment for DVB-T headend management. Following extensive evaluation of various systems, we selected Harris Broadcast’s MSA-100 multisource analyzer for compressed audio and video streams. We installed the equipment at the beginning of 2012, and it has been commissioned and operational for more than a year.

The Norwegian DTT headend and contribution network is operated by Media Netwerk. The infrastructure comprises of six muxes, where two are statmuxed and encoded at our headend. All Program Specific Information and Service Information, encryption, monitoring, and maintenance is performed at the main headend.

The Norwegian DTT headend and network has very extensive and high-level requirements in terms of up-time, resilience, and diverse back-up solutions. These requirements are in response to government communication requirements.

Signal test and measurement at the headend is important since it provides us with concrete reassurance that the headend is working efficiently. As video/audio codec types and transport formats continue to proliferate, it becomes an increasing challenge for media providers such as ourselves to efficiently monitor and maintain quality of service.

With its MSA series, Harris Broadcast provides powerful, easy-to-use analyzers that work within today’s video- over-IP infrastructures, while still supporting legacy delivery interfaces. The MSA series offers a range of solutions that combine confidence monitoring with full testing for compressed video conformance, audio level, data services, and ETR- 290 on any terrestrial broadcast, cable headend, satellite, or telco network. With two base platforms available (MSA-100 and MSA-300), we were able to select the I/O configuration, channel capacity, and system redundancy that best meets our needs on this project.

To support our operations at the DTT headend, we have integrated the MSA-100 series to monitor all the services that we transmit on the DTT network before encryption.

We utilise the MSA’s efficient real time analysis to check Freeze Frame, Black Picture, Audio Silence, Audio Clipping, and ETR 290 measurements. Previously we have been using ‘round-robin’-style extractor monitoring. This was not good enough for our use on this project since we need to detect content errors almost instantly.

For us, another important feature benefit of the MSA is its ability to monitor the several full video pictures in real time on screen.

Overall, this combination of features makes the Harris MSA our primary reference for early detection of errors. This advanced signal test and measurement capability is key to meeting our strict service level agreement requirements.

Another factor that we have found very helpful is the technical and operational support that Harris Broadcast provides. We had not used Harris equipment before we started using the MSA in 2012, so there was a learning curve to go through. This was not an issue on this project. The support Harris Broadcast provides on its test and measurement platform is excellent.