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ARRIS Adds Audio Normalization Feature to its VIPr™ Transcoder

New ARRIS Technology Will Enable Operators to Mitigate Major Consumer Complaint

ARRIS Digital Video SystemsARRIS has announced the addition of an Audio Normalization feature, along with several other new features, to its versatile VIPr Transcoder/Re-Encoder. Well recognized for its demonstrated 4:1 HD compression, ad splicing and MPEG-4 to MPEG-2 transcodingcapabilities, the VIPr now provides a cost-effective, ready-to-deploy resolution to one of the loudest and longest-standing complaints cable operators regularly receive: the regular and often jarring disparity between the audio levels within programming and advertising.

Audio Normalization is the equalization of variations in audio level between a program and an advertisement. With its new software release, the VIPr will incorporate the ARRIS patent pending feature which continuously measures and calculates a running average of the audio levels in the video stream. If the audio level of a subsequent advertisement is significantly higher than the program audio, the VIPr will adjust relevant parameters in the advertisement's audio bit stream, instructing the set top box to reduce the audio levels to approximately the same level as the program audio.

Another new feature is Active Format Description (AFD). AFD enables the content provider to direct the display mode of the video picture when an HD program is converted to SD. 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. However, programmers increasingly prefer to dynamically switch between them based on the content and the programming. In this scenario, the operator can insert an AFD parameter in the video stream which will be processed by the VIPr to perform appropriate conversion from HD to SD, resulting in an improved customer experience.

Additionally, the ARRIS VIPr now boasts a new Input Stream Redundancy feature, which allows a user to configure a second 'redundant' transcode. Many cable operators use redundant ring architectures to distribute video over wide areas. If the primary service fails or has degraded performance, the VIPr automatically switches to the backup service. Also new is the ARRIS VIPr's ability to assign Differentiated Services Code Point (DSCP). DSCP enables cable operators to assign different priorities to IP packets of different types of traffic — for example: high priority for VOD applications and a lower priority for niche content.