“RedRat has been responsive to our needs from the outset and has worked in close partnership with us to develop testing software that met our exact requirements. We were already familiar with Python scripting capabilities and wanted to take full advantage of this by incorporating this easy to use tool into RedRat’s TV set top box testing software.”Thomas von Eyben TDC Denmark
TDC is the largest telecoms company in Denmark, with almost 50% of total market share. Further to TDC’s consolidation with YouSee (the country’s largest cable operator) in 2013, and the subsequent incorporation of all associated products and services under the TDC umbrella, TDC Group now provides home entertainment solutions to more than 1.2 million customers nationwide.
As a result of advances in digital broadcasting and numerous TV viewing methods, associated TV equipment testing processes have become increasingly more complex, with TV services accessible via multiple methods including terrestrial cable, satellite and IPTV.
Further to the corporate merger, TDC’s digital TV product portfolio comprises a combination of DVB-C and OTT Set top Boxes (with and without hard drives) supplied by at least two manufactures. Associated testing processes for such a diverse product mix were laborious and time-consuming. To increase throughput and to improve overall efficiency, TDC wanted to automate a number of routine testing procedures so started researching potential solutions. The company was made aware of RedRat by a third-party vendor who had successfully incorporated its IR-based devices into an existing testing environment.
RedRat devices and associated Test Manager software (developed specifically for TV testing applications) have been incorporated into TDC’s testing environment and are used to replicate remote control functionality on multiple DVB-C and IP set top box models simultaneously. Testing processes involve repeating a series of typical end-user actions, channel change, Video on Demand (VoD) playback or menu navigation, for example, multiple times and analysing the captured data for functionality, performance and responsiveness, as part of an overall QC procedure.
RedRat devices are used to function test embedded software and firmware on two levels:
- To stress-test banks of third-party equipment for functionality, quality and sound by performing a series of automated tests over a fixed period of time
- To stress-test embedded software utilised in premium TV service applications, including video on demand, TV streaming, start over, flow TV and time shifting
After establishing an initial working relationship and successfully incorporating RedRat devices into an existing testing environment, both companies embarked on a joint development project to integrate Python, a general-purpose, high-level scripting language renowned for its ease of use and productivity, into RedRat’s Test Manager software to further improve its description capabilities and create a sophisticated editing tool for setting up and scheduling complex testing scripts.
Benefits of RedRat
Redrat devices and associated technologies have enabled TDC Group to automate a number of routine testing processes, resulting in greater productivity and improved efficiency. RedRat’s custom development and consultancy service significantly reduced the timescales needed to incorporate a third party programming language into an existing software application, enabling TDC to make best use of its limited in-house resource. RedRat technology is flexible and provides end to end functional testing capabilities that are easily repeatable.
The integration of Python software within YouSee testing systems is an ongoing process that will be completed over the forthcoming months.