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Cable Technology Feature Article

December 07, 2010

Cable: ARRIS VIPr Transcoder/Re-Encoder Equipped with Audio Normalization Feature

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributor

ARRIS revealed the addition of an Audio Normalization feature, along with several other new features, to its versatile VIPr Transcoder/Re-Encoder. 

VIPr is recognized for its demonstrated 4:1 HD compression, ad splicing and MPEG-4 to MPEG-2 transcoding capabilities. Company officials said that now it provides a ready-to-deploy resolution to one of the longest-standing complaints cable operators regularly receive. The enhanced product resolves the problem of regular and often jarring disparity between the audio levels within programming and advertising

Company officials said that Audio Normalization is the equalization of variations in audio level between a program and an advertisement. Thanks to this new software release, the VIPr can incorporate the ARRIS patent pending feature which continuously measures and calculates a running average of the audio levels in the video stream. 

VIPr will be able to adjust relevant parameters in the advertisement's audio bit stream if the audio level of a subsequent advertisement is “significantly” higher than the program audio. Company officials said that it instructs the set top box to reduce the audio levels to approximately the same level as the program audio.

The additional new feature is Active Format Description (AFD). With AFD, content provider can direct the display mode of the video picture when an HD program is converted to SD. 

Company officials said that there are two ways to down-convert the video from HD to SD, letterbox or center cut. Programmers and operators used to select one or the other of these formats statically. Currently, programmers prefer dynamic switch between them based on the content and the programming. 

In such a scenario, the operator can insert an AFD parameter in the video stream, and it’ll be processed by the VIPr to perform appropriate conversion from HD to SD, according to company officials.    

Moreover, the ARRIS VIPr now comes with a new Input Stream Redundancy feature. Company officials said that this feature allows a user to configure a second 'redundant' transcode. To distribute video over wide, many cable operators use redundant ring architectures areas. VIPr automatically switches to the backup service if the primary service fails or has degraded performance.

Also new is the ARRIS VIPr’s ability to assign Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP). Company officials said that DSCP allows cable operators to assign different priorities to IP packets of different types of traffic.

ARRIS is a global communications technology company specializing in the design, engineering and supply of technology supporting quad-play broadband services for residential and business customers around the world.

This year in October, ARRIS announced its downstream module upgrade, significantly increasing the downstream density of the DOCSIS(R) 3.0 C4 CMTS.

Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anshu’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jaclyn Allard