IPTV Testing: The End-To-End Approach

May 18, 2017

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IPTV is constantly gaining in popularity. According to statistics, in 2020 the worldwide revenue generated by IPTV is forecasted to climb to 26.19 billion U.S. dollars compared to 8.27 billion in 2010. The United States is expected to rank first among countries with the highest IPTV revenue worldwide in 2020. 

What is IPTV?

IPTV is a system where digital TV services are provided via Internet Protocol. The video channels and programs are transmitted to TV sets using a broadband connection, instead of conventional cable, or broadcast formats.

IPTV enables you to quickly access a wealth of video content and can be as easy as turning on your TV. No matter whether you’re looking to find a quick diversion during your coffee break, to catch up on favorite fashion show you missed or to sit down to the latest news, it’s all available via a simple Internet connection.

For end-users IPTV is an extremely easy and convenient way to get visual content. However, assuring service quality represents a complex activity which requires end-to-end approach.

How does IPTV work? 

Everything is rather simple: in order to get internet TV you will need a broadband internet connection and a router. Internet Protocol Television is simply a video sent via the internet to a PC or other device. At the very least, most set-top boxes and TVs that contain IPTV services will allow access to YouTube, which means you can browse videos with just your remote control.

In the future, it won’t only be the television stations that are available on IPTV but any and every media outlet that produces video will conceivably have its own IPTV “channel”.

IPTV types 

Because IPTV uses a packet-based delivery system, it can be bundled with other IP-based services, such as voice over IP (VoIP) and high-speed internet.

The use of IP also enables providers to support various other services and applications, such as video on demand, in-program messaging and timeshifting, a broad term for services that allow viewers to consume content other ways besides live broadcasts.

IPTV competes with another delivery model known as Internet TV, which refers to television content distributed through a website.

Intelligent Testing: Ensuring IPTV Quality

The quality of the consumer’s video is not just a function of the network bandwidth or the data stream, as there are a number of parameters that contribute to the customers’ perception of good vs. bad quality. Service providers need to systematically test and verify network devices in each of the video transport architectures, including video content services, core, and edge routers, access devices, and customer premises equipment. Such testing provides insights into how each device performs and may determine the impact they have on the overall system.

System-level tests that incorporate more than one demarcation point in the transport architecture are required. It ensures a clear understanding on how well the individual systems interact with each other.

Finally, the network requires an end-to-end testing. Most standard routing and forwarding performance tests should be performed, measuring packet loss or latency under different load conditions.

Quality of Service (QoS) is one or more measurements of desired performance and priorities of a communications system. QoS measures may include service availability, maximum bit error rate (BER), minimum committed bit rate (CBR) and other measurements that are used to ensure quality communications service.

Quality of Experience (QoE) is one or more measurements of the total communications experience or the entertainment satisfaction from the perspective of the end-user. QoE measures may include service availability, audio and video fidelity, types of programming, ability to use and the value of interactive services.

Qulix Systems – your reliable partner for IPTV testing

Quality Assurance is one of our core competencies. Based on our experience in QA of IPTV products, we believe that end-to-end testing is the most comprehensive and effective approach. We have assured product quality at each layer: hardware devices, middleware, server-side software and client-oriented systems (widgets and Smart TV interfaces). Although such a full-scale testing is more expensive and time-consuming at the end it turns out to be a valuable investment into product stability and quality.

IPTV and Internet TV systems are complex multimedia communication systems and its operation involves the use of multiple layers, which can make testing and diagnostics more difficult. Ensuring that devices and systems can provide quality services to stream TV is important in meeting viewers’ quality expectations. That’s why it is extremely important to choose QA vendors with a deep understanding of IPTV-specific tests, work of hardware, virtual devices and emulators to provide the best quality.

by Julia Shimanova

QA Consultant