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Tektronix Picture Quality Analyzer Assists SureWest Communications in Evaluation of H.264 Encoders


PQA500 Provides Accurate and Repeatable Picture Quality Assessment in Evaluating H.264 Encoders

BEAVERTON, Ore. - Tektronix, Inc., a leading worldwide provider of test, measurement and monitoring solutions, announced that leading independent communications holding company SureWest Communications (NASDAQ: SURW), which provides advanced digital TV, high-speed Internet and telephone services to the greater Sacramento and Kansas City regions, used the award-winning Tektronix PQA500 picture quality analysis tool ( in its Sacramento market to provide dependable evaluation and qualification of H.264 video encoders intended for future deployment in their digital television service.

As more broadcasters move to high definition (HD) output, it is imperative that their new and existing equipment is capable of supporting the highest quality images. Broadcasters need to accurately and comprehensively assess the picture quality of encoding and decoding equipment so they can have confidence that it meets or exceeds their requirements. By using an algorithm that accurately models the human vision system, the Tektronix PQA500 provides a suite of repeatable, objective quality measurements that closely correspond with subjective human visual assessment. These measurements provide valuable information to engineers working to optimize video compression and recovery, and maintain a level of common carrier and distribution transmission service to clients and viewers.

When SureWest decided to expand its channel capacity and video recording capability by upgrading its encoding technology, the company sought and received absolute assurance that it would be utilizing the most appropriate encoders to ensure superior video quality. SureWest used the PQA500 in a real-world challenge and the perceptual-based objective picture quality measurements on the PQA500 clearly demonstrated the differences in picture quality between each of the H.264 encoders. The PQA500 identified encoder performance issues that the technical team had not detected in their initial evaluation of the products. These picture quality performance differences strongly influenced SureWest’s H.264 encoder selection.

“SureWest demands excellence from our vendors so we can provide our customers with a superior experience,” said Bill DeMuth, senior vice president and chief technology officer at SureWest Communications. “As we implement new encoding techniques to our existing high definition services, we need access to the finest HD video encoding test equipment to deliver best-in-class services over our network.Tektronix has always been on the leading edge for picture quality analysis, and the PQA500 met our strict requirements. It provides consistent, reliable and accurate measurements, and gives us the confidence that the equipment we select will deliver the results we need to meet our customers expectations.”

“With the increasing market pressures broadcasters face, they must meet the demand for the higher picture quality their viewers have come to expect, especially from HD services,” said Eben Jenkins, director, Video Test, Tektronix. “The PQA500 incorporates the most comprehensive vision model yet developed and the most complete set of picture quality measurement tools available; therefore, it gives results that are more strongly correlated to viewers’ true perception of image quality than any other solution. By using the PQA500, we believe SureWest has selected HD video encoding equipment that will deliver the best quality video to its customers.”

About the PQA500
The Tektronix PQA500 Picture Quality Analyzer is a next-generation picture quality analysis (PQA) tool incorporating eight new Tektronix patents and embodying the most comprehensive Human Vision Model yet implemented. The PQA500 provides the most complete suite of measurement and diagnostic tools for picture quality analysis including full support of high definition (HD) formats. With the PQA500 video developers and broadcasters can quantify subjective video responses, enabling them to consistently produce an optimal customer viewing experience through tuning video offerings for differences in format and delivery means.

About SureWest
SureWest Communications ( is one of the nation’s leading integrated communications providers and is the bandwidth leader in the markets it serves. Headquartered in Northern California for more than 90 years, the company expanded into the Kansas City region in February 2008 with the acquisition of Everest Broadband, Inc. and offers bundled residential and commercial services that include IP-based digital and high-definition television, high-speed Internet, Voice over IP, and local and long distance telephone. Its fiber-to-the-premise IP-based network in the Sacramento region features the fastest symmetrical Internet speeds in the nation at up to 50 Mbps. In its Kansas City market (, 75 percent of the company’s customers subscribe to at least three services.

Tektronix is a leading supplier of test, measurement, and monitoring products, solutions and services for the communications, computer, and semiconductor industries - as well as military/aerospace, consumer electronics, education and a broad range of other industries worldwide. With 60 years of experience, Tektronix enables its customers to design, build, deploy, and manage next-generation global communications networks, advanced and pervasive technologies. Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, Tektronix has operations in 19 countries worldwide. Tektronix’ Web address is

Tektronix is a registered trademark of Tektronix, Inc. All other trade names referenced are the service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.


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