When viewers have a poor streaming experience it’s the service provider’s job to pinpoint and replicate the issue. Only then can the problem be ironed out. But as a service provider, wouldn’t it be ideal to be notified of any issues before viewers see a problem? That way you can fix it pronto and minimize any impacts to quality of experience and viewer engagement.
Enter Verizon Digital Media Services’ Slicer Monitoring tool. Our Uplynk Video Streaming service starts with a piece of software we call the Slicer. It’s not an expensive appliance, rather it’s broadcast-grade software that runs on a commodity laptop, inside of our customer’s facility. Slicer Monitoring allows our customers to inspect the video signal and content at the point of ingest. It monitors and alerts in real-time, allowing customers to know about any issues before the problem reaches viewers.
Slicer Monitoring addresses the common issues that can affect video quality: Is the Slicer healthy? Is the incoming video signal healthy? Is the content being ingested correctly? Is the cloud connection healthy?
If a Slicer is unhealthy there will be a spike in the number of dropped frames or the number of packets unable to be processed. The Slicer is closely monitored for Dropped Frames and Processing Backlog. Alerts can be configured to tell customers when the Slicer is unable to perform adequately for a live stream. Of course, in the rare occasion there is a problem there is always a redundant Slicer available to ensure the show never stops.
To ensure that the Slicer only ingests the best video signal available, it is configured to receive digital video streams using UDP, a standard internet protocol, or an SDI capture card, the broadcast standard digital video interface. Once configured, Slicer Monitoring will alert customers if the incoming signal is weak or lost.
Video streams are not just “video,” they also contain audio and metadata.. All of the following can have an impact on the viewing experience and are tracked by our Slicer Monitoring tool:
Since our Uplynk Video Streaming service is a cloud video platform, a healthy network connection from the Slicer to the cloud is vital for live streaming. Slicer Monitoring detects if any Slicer performance is being degraded because of a slow connection to the cloud.
Slicer Monitoring is a comprehensive tool that can help service providers guarantee video stream quality and protect their streaming service from poor customer feedback. However, it is just one part of Verizon’s quality of service and quality of experience efforts. We also rigorously monitor our Edgecast Content Delivery Network, and our partnership with Conviva provides our broadcast customers with real-time playback metrics from the streaming device itself.
Tony Ferrari – Verizon Digital Media Services’ Product Manager, Uplynk Monitoring