Set Top Box (STB)/or Set Top Unit (STB/STU) Overview

Before starting the introduction of the “Testing” part let’s just understand the basics.

What is a Set Top Box?

A set-top box is a hardware device that receives, decode and display the digital signals on a television. The signal can be a television signal or Internet data and is received by cable or telephone connection. They can have one way which actually means that end user can not interact or modify the channels and two way communications allowing for interactive features like for the end user that they can control or choose what they want on their televisions or whatever type of system they are using.

STB is an device that contains a tuner which connects to a television and takes inputs in signal that can be named as source signal and converts them into a form that they then can be visible on the television or in other words we can say that the set top box is a hardware system that allows a signal to be received, then decoded and then can be visible on a television. The signal type could be a television signal or Internet data and is received by a cable or telephone connection.

There are five types of televisions in India:

  • Broadcast or OTA(Over the Air) Televisions
  • Unencrypted Satellite (Free to air)
  • Direct to home (DTH)
  • Cable television
  • IPTV (Internet Protocol TV)

Today, most of the STB systems are two-way communication, before elaborating two way communication lets understand the one way communication, as the name itself suggests one way which means you can just see whatever is visible on the screen you cannot alter the channels in the television but at the same place in the two way communication the consumer can choose the services or the channels one wants to see.

The set-top boxes can be classified into the following categories:

Cable Converter Box
It can convert any type of channels broadcast from a cable television service into analog radio-frequency signals on a single VHF channel. This box can covert a non cable ready television to cable-ready television. The least number of these cable converter boxes can also de-scramble the signals to manage many channels that are carrier-controlled and access-restricted.

TV Signal Sources
It includes various signal sources:

  • Ethernet cable
  • Satellite dish
  • DSL connections
  • Coaxial cable
  • Broadband over power line
  • VHF or UHF antenna

Professional Set-Top Box
They are also referred to as integrated receiver/ decoders. They are designed especially for robust field handling and rack mounting environments. These are commonly used in the professional broadcast audio or video industry like news channel companies and include a unique feature for producing uncompressed serial digital interface signals.

Hybrid
The hybrid set top boxes came into existence in the late 2000s and became popular among both pay-TV and free-to-air set-top box businesses. These set top boxes provide the usual TV broadcast from cable, satellite and other providers and mix it with the video output provided over a network and personal multimedia content. They give users a variety of viewing content, eliminating the need for having a separate box for each service.

IPTV
These types of set-top boxes are kind of small computers that allow two-way communication that was explained in the second paragraph, it works on an Internet Protocol network and they decode the streaming media video.

STB Architecture

Customer Premises Equipment (CPE)
Set-top box or computer that receives the cable signals coming from the cable modem termination system (CMTS).

Set-Top Box (STB) – There is equipment named as Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) that can access subscription and pay/per View broadcast television services and interactive TV services. Each set-top box is a member of one or more multicast groups in a DSG (DOCSIS Set-top Gate way) network, which allows the STB to receive the OOB (Out of the band data) messages that are needed to receive the programs they are authorized to view.

Point of Deployment (POD) module – Removable security card that is plugged into a STB to uniquely identify and authenticate the STB, which allows the CA (certificate authority) servers to securely identify the set top box and can determine the received programs and services are the one for which the set top box is authorized.

Conditional Access Server –A server systems that encrypt video programs using Conditional Access (CA) techniques which allow only authorized subscribers to decrypt and view the programs.

STB applications
These applications are software programs such as program guides or image organizers that are processed run within the set top box device

  • Application Platforms

The combination of hardware/software and programs that enable the running of other software programs.

  • Resident Applications

These software programs are stored within an STB and are ready to use.

  • Downloadable Applications

These are software programs that can be transferred into an STB.

STB Testing Approaches

  • Functional / Services Testing
  • Signal (Video/Audio) Quality Testing
  • Interface Testing
  • Performance testing

What are the top misconceptions and myths about TDD?

Test Driven Development (TDD) means “Test Driven Development” which is also referred to as test-driven design is a primarily-accepted and broadly acknowledged methodology in the field of software development. It has become well-liked over the last few decades. The primary goal of TDD is to make the code simple, clear, and bug-free. It typically relies on repetitive or tedious unit tests which are executed on the source code being developed. TDD starts with designing as well as developing tests for all functions of an application. The benefits of TDD have been tested on real projects by big giant companies like IBM, Microsoft, and Springer, and they found that such procedure is enormously beneficial. Here are some common misconceptions about TDD (Test Driven Development):

(1) Misconception 1- TDD (Test Driven Development) is a Time-consuming Method

Every single product development team tries to send a feature-rich product under a specific time period and entirely cost-friendly budget. TDD testing is highly effective and creative process to calculate everlasting advantages. In spite of the fact that, incorporating TDD methods in a complicated project is some way or another projected to bungle up pre-chosen due dates. Yet considering it from the other end, we see that a Test Driven Development system implementation actually draws out developer’s productivity and boost the performance of the project. Fundamentally, it reduces the time-consuming procedures by reducing the rate of flaws and defects found during the application deployment stage. All testers concur that later settling is mundane and tricky, which can be repaid by Test Driven Development process.  Any issues in the initial production risk the position and repute of the company in the market. Overall, TDD can reduce customer abandonment, boosts the productivity of the developer, increase the growth factor of your app, and decreases the costs of customer service.

(2) Misconception 2- TDD is a Software Design Technique

The fact is that TDD isn’t a software design technique approach yet it does assists in better software design. By building up the code utilizing the Test Driven Development best practices; it naturally prompts a superior outlined code as it isn’t likely to make significant test cases for a very low-quality code. However, the design of the app still should be taken into consideration by having a reasonable thought of things like data structures, scalability, design patterns, feasibility, and overall system design and architecture considerations.

(3) Misconception 3- Writing all tests before you Start the Code

The reason it is tough for developers to imagine Test Driven Development working is because software design is an iterative, discovery-driven procedure. Contrary to common belief, architects don’t design the entire skyscraper before any work begins. 100% design-up-front is a misconception in every kind of engineering. The design is exploratory. We try something out, throw them away, and try dissimilar things until we achieve something that we like. Now true, if you wrote all tests up front before you wrote a line of execution code, that would hinder the exploration procedure, but that’s not how successful Test Driven Development works. Instead:

  • Write a single test
  • Watch it fail
  • Implement the code
  • Watch the test pass
  • Do again

(4) Misconception 4- Every single thing Needs Unit Tests

Unit tests work perfectly for pure functions — functions which:

  • Given the similar input, always return the same result
  • No adverse effects- (do not mutate shared state, talk to the network, save data, draw things to screen, etc…)

Hence, Unit tests aren’t solely for pure functions, but the less code relies on any shared state or I/O dependencies; the simpler it will be for testing. There are some codes that won’t be easy to unit test. Loads of your code will draw to the screen, capture user input, talk to the network, query a database, and so on. The code responsible for all of that is impure, thus it is tough to test with unit tests. People end up mocking database drivers, user I/O, network I/O, and all sorts of other things in an attempt to follow the rule that your units need to be tested in isolation. Trying to use unit tests for I/O dependent code will cause troubles and those who criticize that test-first is hard are falling into that trap.

To summarize TDD doesn’t replace traditional testing instead, it defines a proven method to ensure successful unit testing. Explore our exceptional Software Testing Services and get better results by utilizing one of them.

How Big Data can be leveraged in all aspects of Testing?

Newest data technologies are entering the market; however, the old ones are also going strong. But it is also important to note here that the Big Data technologies adoption will never slow down, not in the near future. So, it is significant to note how we can overcome the challenges that come with this technology. Such technologies have gone beyond the realms of merely being a buzzword. It is now immensely adopted among corporate and companies, irrespective of size. As per the well-known research and advisory firm, “Big Data is high-velocity, high-volume, and/or high variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable improved decision making, great insight, and process automation.” It truly forms the basis for machine learning & predictive analytics which is the best thing considering the very real occurrence of networks and enterprises being inundated with data from mobile apps, social, and IoT that produce a 24×7 constant flow of data.

Big Data has a variety of features. The three significant features of big data are:

  • Different types of data
  • Big volume of data
  • Speed and accuracy at which the data can be processed

What is Big Data Testing?

In simple language, Big Data refers to enormous quantities of data. There is no specific size parameter to define the size of this technology. It is safe and sound to assume that the standard method to measure it when comes in petabytes or terabytes. Data comes in from every direction, and the velocity and volume would be monstrous. Software developers will be able to build better software faster, using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence technologies like deep learning & natural language processing.

Benefits of Using Big Data Testing in All Aspects of Testing
Through Big Data testing, you can make sure the data in hand is accurate, healthy, and qualitative. The data you had collected from the variety of channels and sources are validated, assisting in better decision making. There are a number of benefits to Big Data testing.

  • Data Accuracy — One of the popular research & advisory firm speaks that data volume is likely to expand by 800% in the next 4-5 years, and 80% of this data will be unstructured. Just imagine the volume of data that you have to analyze. You need to convert all this data into a structured arrangement before it can be mined. Armed with the right kind of data, companies can focus on their weak areas, and be prepared to hit the competition.
  • Better Profit and Reduced Loss — Loss in business will be minimal or even a thing of past, if data is appropriately analyzed. If the accumulated data is of lower quality, the company suffers terrible losses. Separate precious data from structured as well as semi-structured information so no faults are made when dealing with clients.
  • Good Decision Making — When data gets in the hands of the appropriate people, it becomes an asset. So when you have the appropriate kind of data in hand, it would help you make smart decisions. It allows you to analyze all the threats and make use of only the data that will put into the decision making process.
  • Right Strategy and improved Market Goals — You can chart a better decision making plan or automate the decision-making procedure with the assistance of big data. Collect all the validated data, examine it, understand user behavior and make sure all of them are realized in the software testing procedure, so you can deal out something they need. Big data testing assists you optimize business strategies by looking at this information.

Conclusion

Transforming data with intelligence is a great concern. As big data is very important to a company’s decision-making plan, it is not even possible to begin asserting the worth of arming yourself with reliable information. Big Data processing is a very promising field in today’s complicated business environment. Applying the accurate dose of test strategies, and following best practices would help ensure qualitative software testing. The idea is to recognize and recognize the defects in the primary stages of testing and fix them. This helps in cost reduction and better outcomes. Through this procedure, the troubles that testers faced during software testing are all solved now as the testing approach are all driven by data. Hence, Big Data is a powerful tool for the current business. In fact, some believe that companies that fail to derive value from machine learning & Big Data will face huge competitive shortcomings as the field continues to grow and adoption increases around the world.

Security Testing – Critical Concepts and Attributes

The widespread use and high buzz of software apps in business and everyday life are paralleled by the rise of hacking, security breaches, and virus attacks. Behavioral imperfections and software defects can promote these serious attacks. Some of the security incidents like Apple gotofail flaw, Heartbleed, POODLE attack have taught us that web security can’t be taken lightly and even the best of us are not safe and risk-free from it. Third parties with malicious intent may exploit these vulnerabilities for their own profit. Companies may incur a serious loss of legal and security complications, customer trust, terrible slowdown of business operations and high costs of rectification, as a result. Applications Security testing is a critical QA step for businesses to safeguard their software applications. By testing the application for potential security threats and vulnerabilities, potential external attacks may be pre-empted.

Prime objectives of Security Testing

The objectives of security testing can be:

  • To make certain that the adequate attention is provided to recognize the security risks
  • To confirm the proper functioning of the executed security measures
  • To get confirmation that a realistic mechanism to define and enforce access to the system is in the right place
  • To make sure that adequate expertise exists to perform security testing

Usually, security testing has the following main attributes:

  • Authorization
  • Authentication
  • Confidentiality
  • Availability
  • Non-repudiation
  • Resilience
  • Integrity

Why Security Testing?

System testing, in the modern era, is a must to determine and address web application security vulnerabilities and threats to avoid any of the following:

  • Loss of client trust.
  • Website downtime, time loss &expenditures to recover from damage (restoring backups, reinstalling services, etc.)
  • Disturbance to the online means of revenue collection/generation.
  • Cost associated with securing web apps against future attacks.
  • Connected legal implications and fees to have lax security measures in place.

The main aim of security testing is to find out how vulnerable a system may be and to find out whether its data, as well as resources, are secured from potential intruders. The security testing is mainly carried out to make sure that the software under test is sufficiently robust and performs in an acceptable manner even in the event of a malicious attack.

6 Reasons Why Manual Testing Won’t Replace Automated Testing

There are so many discussions that automation testing is replacing manual testing. A lot of developers & testers in modern era want to look for the help of automation testing to make their lives simple. Test automation has received interest and much attention in recent times. But, the truth is that you can’t expect automation testing to execute all the work done by a software tester. A lot of developers and testers in the modern era prefer to seek the assistance of test automation to make their testing easy. However, test automation doesn’t have the capability to completely replace manual software testing. Therefore, we cannot expect that automation testing is stealing the job of software testers out there in the software testing world.

Reasons Why Test Automation will never replace Manual Testing:

  • It only tests what is predictable- Automated tests assure people that what we anticipate to happen does, in fact, turn out. We name this the “happy path”. Automation testing concentrates on functionality that already exists. It isn’t deep but its coverage is enormous. Test Automated is effective for regression tests, precisely when resources are restricted. But only doing test automation is sure to introduce some drawbacks and disappointment in your software testing process.
  • Automation is excessively expensive for small testing projects- Not just do you have automation testing software to pay for, but you also have high maintenance and management related costs, because of script writing & rewriting, including arrangement, set up and processing times. For big and long term projects, the higher expenses can be worth it. But for small and short projects it’s a massive waste of both money and time. When estimating the potential ROI for an automation purchase, you have to factor in additional man hours, too.
  • Automating usability tests is just impossible- Usability testing cannot be automated and it necessitates a human. You cannot train a system (laptop, computer, etc.) to spot “good” usability vs. “bad” usability. Perhaps you might think like, “Ok, we can easily skip usability testing”. Do not make such type of mistake. By skipping this type of testing, you are introducing an incredible amount of threat. This step in the Quality Assurance process is vital to ensure confidence in the product release. There is no means around involving manual testers in usability testing.
  • Automation Testing can contain faults/ bugs- Just like your app’s code can have bugs, automated tests can too. Automation tests can also catch Issues that are unaware of. If you write tests with bugs, you are literally going to have false positives, which can lead to several threats and problems for your clientele and your team. The human element of manual testing can spot these errors and ensure you are testing appropriately.
  • In agile, testing scripts have to be rewritten – Working with continuous feedback in agile environs means fluid changes to the flow of the product, the User Interface, or even attributes. And nearly every time, a modification entails a rewrite of the automated scripts for the subsequent sprint. Fresh new modifications also affect the testing scripts for regression tests, so even that classic automation example necessitates a lot of updates in agile.
  • Technical limits can come into play- The number of test scenarios is complex or downright impossible to automate. The universal argument is “automated testing is cheap”. But it’s not challenging to spend a ton of money and time on elaborate automation. For instance, testing a series of touch screen devices. How do you automate the understanding of a “swipe“and a “tap”. You cannot do that in a way that is equivalent to human being usage.

Final Verdict

The existence of both automated testing and manual testing forces us to think about our option of tools, their charge, and the rewards they will provide. There are a place and time for both testing techniques. Manual testing helps us understand the complete problem and explore other tests angles with flexibility. Test automation helps save time in the long run by achieving a large number of surface level tests in a limited time. It is up to you to decide where and when every single method of testing is used. Even though automation would not replace forms of manual testing, yet neither will manual testing remove automation. Once the distinction between them is understood, the in-depth dread of automation breaks down and a competent, gainful coordinated attempt rises.

We at ImpactQA provides both Quality Assurance manual testing as well as Automation using all the most recent automation testing and manual testing tools.