Tektronix' Next-Generation MPEG Transport Stream Monitor Provides Low-cost, Scalable Solution for System Management

9/13/2002 - Tektronix, the world leader in MPEG-2 compressed digital video test and measurement equipment, announced a next-generation MPEG transport stream monitor for broadcasters, network operators, and system integrators who need a scalable solution to detect signal degradation.

The rapid growth in the number of programs that broadcasters can deliver to the consumer, together with the well-known cliff effect in digital systems, renders time-honored monitoring methods based on operators watching a wall of monitors ineffective. A reliable monitoring solution that can proactively detect system degradations before they become quality problems is more effective in monitoring digital transmissions. The new Tektronix MTM400 MPEG Transport Stream Monitor is a flexible, low-cost-per-probe MPEG monitoring solution that enables management of the transmission and distribution of video content on a 24 hours/7 days a week basis. It incorporates an optional user-defined template monitoring solution that provides for content verification.

"As digital video becomes pervasive in global broadcast and telecommunication networks, the complexity of transport streams will increase dramatically," said Todd Biddle, General Manager, Video Business, Tektronix. "The right monitoring tools, which can detect and diagnose problems that affect the reliability and quality of digital video transmissions, can make all the difference in providing a satisfying viewing experience. The new MTM400 transport stream monitor is the next step in providing state-of-the-art MPEG monitoring technology for the digital transition."

Systems Integrators Provide Turnkey Broadcast Solutions
"As a system integrator, we couldn't be more pleased with the MTM400's performance," said Terry Higgins, Project Services Manager, Encoda Systems. "It's easy to integrate into our turnkey solutions, and its low price per probe makes it cost-effective for our particular requirements. After our experience in Beta testing the product, we're confident that we will be providing an excellent solution to MPEG monitoring by offering the MTM400."

Complete Solution for Transmission Monitoring of MPEG Transport Streams
Monitoring instruments that can detect impairments before they impact quality help users achieve the same level of confidence in digital television that they achieved in analog. There are three levels for monitoring devices: confidence monitors which perform basic tests to confirm that an MPEG device or system is operating correctly; extended confidence monitors which provide more in-depth measurements at a more affordable cost; and diagnostic monitors which provide the highest, and most in-depth, level of monitoring.

The MTM400 is a one rack-unit high, extended confidence transport stream monitor that provides key measurements to ensure an entire network is error free. It provides high data rate, full TR101 290 monitoring of a single transport stream at up to 155 Mbps. When more in-depth analysis and recording capability is needed, diagnostic monitoring functionality can be added to the probe through the purchase of additional software licenses. Optional RF interfaces allow the MTM400 to demodulate the transport stream to provide measurements on the health of the stream, and a downloadable remote user interface enables operation of the MTM400 from any Web browser.

Unique Template Monitoring Solution Ensures Correct Content
Ensuring that a transport stream's contents are correct requires monitoring equipment to have prior knowledge of what will be transmitted. One way to achieve this is for the user to identify a small number of key parameters expected in the transport stream. These parameters form a template into which the operator enters values that are expected to be present in the stream. Monitoring equipment extracts the actual values from the transport stream and compares them against the original template values. Alarms are sounded when a discrepancy occurs. The MTM400 has a user-defined template option, including the ability to schedule template changes, that enables a transport stream's content to be verified to ensure that the correct content is delivered to the correct point in the network at the correct time.

MTM400 Simplifies Remote Control Management
Current market trends towards centralized facilities, such as in the US, create demand for distributed confidence probes with Web-based controls. The MTM400 uses the Tektronix Web-based Monitoring System Management software, WebMSM MPEG Measurement Manager, an installable application that enables complete visibility of the error status of a transmission network from a standard Web browser via Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). The user is able to customize the user interface, building up geographical maps showing the location and status of the monitoring network, as well as mimic diagrams of the transmission network. When a fault occurs, the corresponding monitoring point is highlighted in red, enabling the network manager to drill down to the individual monitor and determine the nature of the fault. The WebMSM can be used to manage a mixed network of confidence and diagnostic monitors.

About Tektronix (www.tektronix.com)
Tektronix, Inc. is a test, measurement and monitoring company providing measurement solutions to the communications, computer and semiconductor industries worldwide. With more than 55 years of experience, Tektronix enables its customers to design, build, deploy and manage next-generation global communications networks, computing and advanced technologies. Headquartered in Beaverton, Ore., Tektronix has operations in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Tektronix is a registered trademark of Tektronix, Inc.

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