More and more video services are delivered over IP network. Service providers are not only using the Internet infrastructure to deliver video data to end consumers, they are also using IP network for backbone video transport.As IP video transport becomes more common and video processing work is increasingly done by software, service providers are also moving part or all of video processing functions to the cloud in order to minimize the need of building and maintaining their own hardware equipment. For Internet streaming video services, another benefit of producing video streams in the cloud is that the output video data can be directly sent to CDN for video distribution to the consumers.

Cloud Video Service Architecture

Internet VOD services have been available for many years. In this case, source content is saved in the cloud and streaming servers can read the content directly in the cloud and serve the data to customers. The client app downloads the content from the server and plays the video. For live video production, the video source may be pushed to the cloud using UDP, RTP or some other streaming protocols and the streams are further processed before being distributed to consumers. Figure 1 shows a typical cloud-based live video distribution architecture.

Cloud video streaming services

Figure 1: Cloud video streaming services

The source video is pushed to the cloud, and may be transcoded and re-multiplexed with other program data in the cloud. Afterwards, live streams in different formats are generated, such as RTMP, HLS, MMS and MPEG DASH using the streaming server for different consumer devices. Finally, these streams are pushed to CDN for the final distribution to consumers in different geographic regions.

Software for Monitoring Cloud Video Service Work Flow

As more high-value video services are being processed in the cloud and delivered over the Internet, it is very important for service providers to deliver the services to any client devices with a quality comparable to that achieved by traditional broadcast methods, such as cable, satellite and IPTV. To achieve this goal, it is important to deploy real-time analysis and monitoring capabilities.

Mividi Video over IP Monitoring System (TSM100) is designed to meet cloud video monitoring requirements. In comparison to traditional video monitoring appliance, it is a software-based product which can be easily installed in computers in the cloud without the need of putting physical devices in the cloud. Therefore, it can be deployed in any public cloud for rent.

In order to serve customers in any time on any devices, Internet video service providers offer their video programs in different protocols and with multiple bit rates so the video can be played on a variety of devices, with different network bandwidth. The streaming protocols used to deliver the source video to the cloud can also be different from those used to send data to customers. The monitoring tool needs to support many different video streaming protocols, including UDP, RTP, RTMP, HLS, RTSP and MPEG DASH.

The Mividi TSM100 monitoring probe can be deployed in the cloud, but also out of the cloud, which is needed when the video service is provided in different geographic regions, so the monitoring probe can be placed near customer location. The data collected by the TSM100 probes can be sent back to the NOC for additional analysis and human view.

Stream Quality Analysis

The Mividi TSM100 can monitor streams delivered in push mode, such as UDP or RTP streams, it can also pull streaming data from streaming servers and analyze the downloaded streams. It performs a variety of analysis in video and audio layer, as well as the IP delivery layer. For UDP, RTP or HLS streams, the software provides comprehensive analysis on the MPEG transport stream (TS) layer. It supports MPEG-2, AVC, HEVC video formats, as well as commonly used audio formats including MP3, AAC, AAC plus, and AC3. It can also decode DVB SI and ATSC PSIP metadata tables and perform standard compliance checks on these data.

The system performs detailed TS error checks based on DVB test guideline TR 101 290 and reports all three priority level errors. It analyzes transport stream program structure, measures PID bitrate, performs PCR, and buffer analysis, detects any black and frozen frames, and monitors missing audio and video element streams.

For streaming protocols that are not based on transport stream format, such as RTMP, RTSP, MMS streams, the TSM100 will analyze these streams by simulating video playing clients and decoding all video and audio frames, to find black or frozen frames, and calculate and monitor audio loudness level.

In addition to the video layer testing, the system also performs IP and HTTP layer testing. The Media Delivery Index (MDI) consisting of IP packet jitter and packet loss rate are calculated in UDP over IP streams. In HLS streams, the TSM100 will monitor the downloading delay and compare the average downloading time to the media time. A single stream quality score is used to summarize all the errors detected to tell operators of the overall stream quality.

Remote Access and Error Alarms

The Mividi TSM100 probe can be running in the cloud without being continuously monitored by human operators. The test results can be viewed remotely using the Mividi TSM Web, which is a web interface accessible using an Internet browser. The web interface shows the real-time analysis results from the TSM100 probe, thumbnails from all video programs being monitored and aggregated alarm messages. Additionally, all detected errors in the past are saved in the system database, and they can be searched and viewed using the TSM Web, and reports can be generated.

The TSM100 systems also contains a desktop client TSM View program as a part of TSM100 product installation. This UI client displays detailed real-time analysis results and dynamic charts. The UI client can run on a remote computer, as long as the client computer is in the same LAN as TSM100 probes. A single client can also connect to multiple TSM100 probes to aggregate test results from different probes. An additional program summary window will have a quick view of program status from all programs in multiple TSM100 monitoring probes. The program can run on the same Windows instance in the cloud and can also be installed in NOC to monitor results from multiple TSM probes.

When stream errors are detected, the TSM probes will immediately send out alarm messages. Multiple methods are provided for sending out alarms, including email, SMS messages, or SNMP traps according to user configuration. The TSM100 provides a true 24x7 monitoring tool even when no human operators are present.

Network Monitoring Architecture

To deliver Internet video services to large audience in different regions, service providers often rely on CDN to do the last stage of video distribution and are concerned of the quality of their video services in different areas. The Mividi TSM software provides a very suitable solution for multi-points, network-wide video monitoring.

The Mividi TSM probes can be deployed in the cloud as well as outside of cloud near consumer locations as physical devices. The test results can be accessed remotely by the operators in the NOC. In addition to the analytic data provided, the Mividi TSM probes have an optional feature of transcoding input video and re-streaming the video data in HLS format. The re-streamed video can be viewed and recorded in remote NOC, giving NOC technicians a direct view of the video quality.

To manage remote TSM probes and play the video streams from the TSM probes in the NOC, Mividi provides the TSM Web network management software, and IP video Multiviewer monitor software. In addition, TSM probes are enabled with SNMP services so operators can use their existing SNMP management tools to receive SNMP traps and query error information and machine status in the probe.

Multi location Internet video service monitoring

Figure 2. Multi location Internet video service monitoring