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Automation Articles Page
VIDEOTEK'S ULTIMATE SOLUTION: SIGNAL QUALITY MANAGER The Only Solution for Enterprise Management of Signal Verification in a Centralized Environment
by Anonymous













Monitoring the quality of television signals in multi-channel facilities has traditionally been time consuming, expensive and inefficient. An increasing number of broadband, satellite (DBS and uplink facilities), data path and content providers, and even traditional broadcasters are faced with growing numbers of channels/services, sources, and system path points to monitor. In addition, all are tasked with the same basic operational accountability issues: assurance of signal quality, outage recognition, service restoration time, and source uptime. While all of these issues are underscored by the ultimate accountability concern: customer satisfaction.

By focusing on current needs and a changing future, and backed by years of product development and multiple beta site evaluations, Videotek has developed the only comprehensive QC central monitoring system that will standardize the way facilities address this QC concern. The Signal Quality Manager (SQM) tackles the many issues faced by the facilities that were consulted on the development of this product. The SQM has been designed to automatically, and in real time, detect errors in any signal path and pinpoint the exact location of the error. The unattended SQM dramatically reduces monitoring costs while revolutionizing how the television industry measures quality.

The Signal Quality Manager becomes the eyes and ears of any facility’s operations center regardless of size or geographical location. The SQM has been designed to be an easily installed, total turnkey QA system, for an industry that continues to evolve in the area of standards, consolidation, and delivery medium. The flexibility of the SQM also allows it to be easily integrated into an existing enterprise management environment using a built-in SNMP agent.

The SQM’s hardware monitors multi-standard video and audio feeds and specified data, through a set of modules mounted in a CPU controlled frame, comparing the active signals to a set of user defined parameters. The SQM frames can be populated with any mix of patented module types. The flexibility engineered into the system allows the SQM to continuously and simultaneously monitor the conditions of all common audio and video formats including Analog, SDI, MPEG and HD. Control modules are also available for GPI/GPO and Router control.

In addition, the SQM software offers a means by which vital issues of logging, tracking, trending and accountability are monitored and made available for reporting purposes. The SQM users set their own alarm limits for monitoring specific parameters to identify degradation, outages and system conditions. The number of user alarms available is comprehensive, and users have the option of choosing either a basic alarm set or an advanced alarm set. The log file generated by the SQM provides accurate time stamping at the start and end of any alarm condition, while an active alarm window provides the operator critical information relating to the current active alarms.

Signal loss, peak and low video and audio, frozen picture, data CRC errors, VITS data and macroblocking detection are just a few of the many alarms currently available. Future modules, such as a universal demodulator and an auto-measure module that provides specific line signal analysis with measurements, are currently under development. Configuration of SQM modules can be performed with SQM’s Master Software or with any Internet capable WEB browser.

If the SQM hardware detects a signal value has fallen outside of the parameters established by the user, it will generate an alarm. SQM’s hardware can then be programmed to immediately act upon the alarm condition. The hardware can switch a “back-up” source to a designated output or alternately cause a routing switcher to switch to back-up source until the alarm condition has cleared. SQM’s hardware can also create a GPI that can trigger a pager or be used to trip a visual or audible alarm in a control room. TCP/IP and other standard Internet protocols support remote access. System health can even be checked from any Internet connection, including PDAs (Portable Digital Assistant), using a common WEB browser.

Additionally, the concern of talent resources is also easily addressed with the SQM. This one system can monitor up to 4000 feeds simultaneously. An intuitive operator interface can be presented in text, block diagram or geographical map, and screens can be customized using a built-in draw package. A logical signal path schematic can be drawn with monitoring indicator points added. Each point is indicated in green when chosen signal parameters remain within set tolerances. When an alarm limit is exceeded along the signal path, the corresponding monitoring indicator point will flash yellow or red while the exact fault condition is described in the current alarm list shown at the bottom of the drawing.

Similar to the signal path drawing, a geographical map can be displayed to indicate POP (Point of Presence) sites. These remote POP sites, equipped with SQM frames and many monitoring points for complete path health knowledge, provide centralized quality assurance and confidence in network operations.

Current list of available modules for the SQM:

SQM-150AV: Analog Audio and Video Input Module. Two composite analog video and eight analog audio inputs. Includes switched output for routing or monitoring.

SQM-151A: Advanced Analog Audio only Input Module. Eight analog audio inputs. Includes switched output for routing or monitoring.

SQM-151V: Advanced Analog Video only Input Module. Two looping analog video inputs. Includes switched output for routing or monitoring.

SQM-175: Macroblocking Detection Module. Two independent analog composite inputs. Detects macroblock errors on decoded analog composite video signals using image processing techniques.

SQM-250AV: Digital Video with Embedded Audio Input Module. Two 601 inputs with audio de-embedding of one group (4 channels) from each input. Includes switched output for routing or monitoring.

SQM- 250V: Advanced Digital Video only Input Module. Two 601 inputs with selectable termination. Includes switched output for routing or monitoring.

SQM-251AES: Advanced Digital Audio only Input Module for 75 AES/EBU inputs. Four inputs (8 channels). Includes switched output for routing or monitoring.

SQM-252AES: Advanced Digital Audio only Input Module for 110 AES/EBU inputs. Four inputs (8 channels). Includes switched output for routing or monitoring.

SQM-253ASDI: Advanced Digital Audio only Input Module for De-embedding AES/EBU Audio. Two 601 inputs with a total of two groups of inputs (8 channels) either 1 group from each input or 2 groups from one input. Includes switched output for routing or monitoring.

SQM-350: Dual MPEG Data Recognition Module. Input data from SMPTE 310M, DVB/ASI or MPEG sources. Two independent inputs with user selectable alarms on MPEG and ATSC and DVB ETR290 data alarms. Includes data information sent to monitoring point and switched output for external monitoring.

SQM-GPI: Multifunction GPI Module. Includes 4 fixed opto isolated GPI inputs, 4 fixed GPI outputs with both Normal Open and Closed outputs plus 22 programmable input or output GPIs. All programmable GPIs are referenced to a single common return.

SQM-RS3: Router Control Module. Three ports to control up to three routers. RS-12 series control is standard with other manufacturers protocols supported.

State-of-the-art, centralized and unattended, quality assurance monitoring is here utilizing efficient and effective technology for detecting and solving problems, now and in the future. The SQM - Signal Quality Manager. Experience the Power.

Located at 243 Shoemaker Road, Pottstown, PA, 19464, Videotek, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of test and measurement equipment, video demodulators, routing switchers, color correctors and processors and related equipment for the professional video and television broadcast markets. Videotek is committed to zero defects and is ISO-9001 certified.

For sales information, please contact sales@videotek.com. For technical information, please contact Greg Huttie, Director of Product Development, at (610) 327-2292 or (800) 800-5719 (voice) or e-mail at ghuttie@videotek.com.

For additional information, please contact: Joy Mossholder, Marketing Manager at (610) 327-2292, Fax: (610) 327-9295 or E-Mail: jmossholder@videotek.com. Web: www.videotek.com ;          
                       



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