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Video: The Case for QC'ing Live Streams

Learn more about live stream monitoring at Streaming Media's next event.

Watch the complete video of this presentation from Streaming Media West, DT201A: Non-Reference Picture Quality Assessment in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Andrew Scott: Why should we do monitoring and quality control? And I'll start with a list of actual customer stories. So I won't go into gory detail on each of these, but maybe highlight a few.

I think a lot of this boils down to the tools or the processes for detecting issues. Start off being pretty rudimentary and don't get a chance to dig a little bit deeper.

One example here is where on a program the left channel of audio was out for several hours. There, instead of the full stereo, we had only the right channel.

Part of the reason there was because the monitoring was essentially looking at the stream on a laptop, and you can't tell if you've only got one of the channels available from a little laptop speaker. They didn't even know until customers were calling in about that.

What's another good example here? Problems with profiles. Of course, in an ABR implementation, we've got multiple representations, multiple profiles available. If any of those profiles are missing, that could cause a problem for some particular viewers who happen to be trying to retrieve that profile. Again, if the monitoring procedure in place is simply looking at the output of a Roku box on a TV, and that particular profile is never hit, you're not going to know. The only way to truly find that is by monitoring all of the profiles simultaneously.

There are lots of examples like this of cases where simple viewing methods aren't enough to really uncover what's going on.

The starting point tends to be just looking at basic measurements, basic statistics from equipment in the workflow. What is your encoder telling you? What's the packager telling you? Look at some of the delivery stats from CDN providers, and so on.

We might be using simple tools like a Roku box connected to a TV, streaming it on a laptop. We're not going to get a lot of great visibility with those kinds of tools. Similarly, the expertise behind the team of engineers, operators that are taking a look at those measurement devices, if you will. They're usually starting from a small team and growing from there. A lot of streaming providers are relatively new startups. They’re not the incumbent large cable operators. So, a small team to start with, and again, they may not have the ability to look in detail at what's going on.

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