Mixed Signals’ Sentry system has left simple, passive content monitoring behind with a new capability that allows service providers to use the system as an element in a bandwidth optimization process. Sentry can also now record video and audio errors as they occur for more detailed analysis and repair.

Sentry’s new Program Group Bandwidth Analysis tool allows video service providers to track the bandwidth utilization of all of the video programs they deliver, enabling them to optimally configure their networks to deliver the maximum number of programs while guaranteeing each program can receive the bandwidth required for pristine picture quality. 

The tool monitors service providers’ multiplex or QAM groups, in addition to analyzing virtual program groups. Operators may also use Sentry to create a virtual grouping of programs to understand the bandwidth behavior over a 24-hour period. This allows them to “test” the bandwidth needs of a new multiplex or QAM group before putting it into production.

Beyond delivering more programming, achieving this level of bandwidth efficiency can help service providers maximize their investments in transport equipment. For instance, cable television operators could use their existing QAM modulators much more efficiently and avoid the need to purchase additional modulators.

“Competition for subscribers is fierce, and service providers are fighting in two ways – offering more HDTV, VOD and other services and striving to deliver these services with superior video and audio quality,” said Eric Conley, CEO of Mixed Signals. “The combination of Sentry’s industry-leading error detection abilities and its new Program Group Bandwidth Graphing tool gives video service providers the most comprehensive solution for ensuring their subscribers enjoy the best possible quality of experience while viewing the greatest number of services.”

In addition to its new bandwidth analysis tool, Sentry has been fortified with a Trigger Program Capture feature to record video and audio errors as they occur, which can speed up their diagnosis and repair.

The Trigger Program Capture is integrated with Sentry’s Audio and Video QoE Scoring System, which is the first solution of its kind to accurately determine the severity of video and audio glitches as they occur and indicate precisely how much these errors impact viewers’ QoE. When the Audio and Video QoE Scoring System identifies deterioration in program quality of a pre-determined severity, the Trigger Program Capture feature automatically records the program. The captured video can then be easily retrieved by headend technicians to be sent to encoder or multiplexer vendors for product adjustments.

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