IPTV, one of the components of triple-play services, is being used by traditional wireline carriers as a way to leverage their DSL customer base, in order to quickly and efficiently enter the broadcast TV and other video content delivery markets. Even the cable MSOs see the value in IPTV as they migrate their networks from the legacy analog and digital channel overlay technologies towards all-broadband IP networks.

This paper describes challenges to the quality of IPTV service and metrics that can help to overcome them—parameters that can be tested so as to correct the situation before service is affected. These include packet loss, packet delay, packet interarrival jitter, and PCR jitter. The paper explains why channel-changing delay measurement is not sufficient to characterize the performance of an IPTV network, and why, in order to detect network malfunctions that could affect zap time and video quality, it is important to perform additional network-related testing to locate the source of a given problem.