Tektronix has upgraded its Sentry system to perform in-depth monitoring of video streams at full line rate, up to 1 Gbps per unit, or hundreds of simultaneous video streams.

Users would therefore require fewer of the new version of the product – Sentry 5.0 – to perform the same amount of work.

At the same time, the company introduced a new means of automating the detection of errors that customers might actually perceive. Called eMOS, or Perceptual Video Quality, this refinement in automated detection aims to help service providers deal with content errors where the quality of experience (QoE) score is good, but the program suffers artifacts due to over-compression, which the company said is common in motion-intensive programs like sports. 

In addition, the new release includes GOP length statistics, RTP support and new reason codes that help service providers quickly understand the source of an issue.

Full line rate monitoring complements the advanced artifact detection feature recently added to Sentry's QoE scoring capability with new reason codes and its new mean opinion score (eMOS) scoring capabilities, Tektronix said. These metrics can be used to compare and track the qualitative performance of audio and video programs throughout the video network, enabling root cause analysis of degradations in quality and automatic prioritization of issues based on subscriber impact.

For example, Sentry can generate video quality scores on incoming feeds at the headend prior to multiplexing, which gives a baseline score for each program. After the programs are multiplexed, another Sentry can generate single-ended MOS and QoE scores of the resulting channel lineup to determine if the video or audio quality has been affected. This scoring process can be conducted at all recommended monitoring points in the network to provide an overview of the health of each program, Tek said.

"Cable operators and other video service providers are continually adding new live and on-demand services, which increase the complexity of their networks and consequently increase the likelihood of video and audio errors," said Eric Conley, vice president of video network monitoring at Tektronix.