TV T&M For The New Decade, Part 2

As the world prepares for 2020, broadcasters, video content creators and providers grapple with new formats and distribution models, and what it takes to test and maintain them.

The TV T&M business in the 20th century was boring. How many ways could someone improve a CRT-based, analog baseband TV waveform monitor or vectorscope? The newest TV T&M at most pre-DTV NAB Shows usually consisted of a brighter CRT, a more complicated graticule, or perhaps some deep-engineering nuance for tasks such as annual FCC TV transmitter Proof-of-Performance reports. The biggest TV T&M technology leap at one NAB Show was BNC connectors.

Over much of the history of baseband, a complete report covering all the latest precision NTSC broadcast TV T&M gear would be about one manufacturer. Analog baseband TV T&M gear was notorious for intimidating operators with more information, mysterious dials and switches than was needed to simply monitor and adjust video levels. Some TV engineers called it ‘job security.’

Y2K+20

In the 21st century, new technology and more DTV T&M competition has stimulated innovation, making solutions more interesting, affordable and graphic. The mysterious analog T&M dials and switches have been replaced by web interfaces, often with rights management to keep operators away from trouble. Flatscreens and microprocessors have made modern DTV T&M solutions significantly more versatile, accessible and easier to interpret. 

Digital video signal flows are far more sophisticated than simple baseband analog ins, outs, and distribution amplifiers. There are many more active and passive layers and links in the DTV signal chain that can go wrong. Thus, critical signal monitoring at key points along the chain is vital. In some instances such as levels, loudness and illegal colors, it's mandatory.

Part 2 of TV T&M for the New Decade covers manufacturers from the second half of the alphabet. The most profound trend among all TV T&M manufacturers from A-Z is support for the many new digital production and distribution format specifications gaining popularity over the past few years. The T&M trend of leading the TV industry to new specs won't end anytime soon.

PHABRIX

PHABRIX was recently acquired by Leader Instruments. At NAB NY 2019, PHABRIX released V3.0 software for its flagship Qx rasterizer to upgrade the latest hybrid IP/SDI T&M tools. The new Qx software supports SMPTE 2110 (-20, -30, -31, -40), ST 2059 for Precision Time Protocol (PTP) and two-port ST 2022-7 seamless protection. It also provides the simultaneous monitoring of 1 video, 2 audio and 1 ANC data flow in up to 16 active and scalable windows.

The two audio flows support up to 16 channels each at 1ms and 125us with either PCM or AES3 Transport.  The latest features also include operator status information for PTP, 2022-7 seamless reconstruction and the timing relationship of flows to PTP.

The company also demonstrated the new Qx series SDI-STRESS option, providing an advanced toolset for SDI interface stress testing. Combined with its fast, automated 12G-SDI physical layer analysis employing Real-Time Eye (RTE) technology, SDI-STRESS provides a world-class solution for SMPTE compliance verification of 12G/4x3G/2x6G/6G/3G/HD-SDI interfaces.

The Sx range of PHABRIX handheld test instruments provides simultaneous signal generation and analysis with a built-in core diagnostic toolset.

The Sx range of PHABRIX handheld test instruments provides simultaneous signal generation and analysis with a built-in core diagnostic toolset.

AV Delay Generation and Analysis is a new option available on all PHABRIX’s handheld Sx instruments, and it offers an end-to-end solution for the measurement of audio to video differential delay through a broadcast system.

An upcoming release of Qx ST 2110 with advanced engineering measurement features was also demonstrated at NAB NY. New features include the measurement of ST 2110-21 network compatibility and virtual receiver buffer models, advanced PTP to Flow Timing data view, and Inter-Packet Arrival Times for all flows that contribute to the ST 2022-7 seamless reconstruction.

Qligent

Qligent updated its Vision Analytics innovation with a fully matured, open platform that harnesses the power of data mining, machine learning and predictive data analytics. Vision Analytics addresses three primary concerns: User engagement, Silent sufferers, and Audience churn.

Qligent’s updated advanced analytics can improve QoE and combat audience churn. The updated version debuted at IBC 2019. 

Rohde & Schwarz

Rohde & Schwarz recently launched its new Monitoring-as-a-Service (MaaS) solution R&S PRISMON.cloud in Europe. At an IBC 2019 roll out, Rohde & Schwarz announced PRISMON.cloud is now available in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Italy and the UK.

R&S PRISMON.cloud can be deployed quickly and without dedicated hardware. A flexible and scalable pricing model provides a tailored monitoring solution also useful for event driven usage peaks.

TAG Multiviewer provides probing, monitoring, and multiviewing.

TAG Multiviewer provides probing, monitoring, and multiviewing.

TAG

At NAB NY, TAG demonstrated its unique platform, the world’s first and only 100% Software, 100% IP solution capable of running on standard COTS hardware for all four primary video applications: Live Production, Playout, Distribution and OTT.

TAG CEO Abe Zerbib noted that the needs of all four applications are very different and said, “Each application has its own set of challenges but can easily be managed within the same software platform in an IP environment.”

TAG allows broadcasters to move from purpose-built hardware to the scale and agility that comes with software-deployed IP solutions while still delivering a low latency solution. TAG’s advanced software skills allows it to break the software / bandwidth / timing limitations of ST-2110 in COTS hardware and has brought a high-density solution with multiple 100GE interfaces and support for ST-2022-7 network redundancy.

NAB NY was the first major US Trade Show where TAG was demonstrated with double capacity, which is critical when dealing with uncompressed 2110 IP inputs and outputs. Doubling the capacity and increases the ROI. It decreases the overall hardware required and results in reduced latency to one frame per second or less. TAG calls doubling capacity for the exact same price “Zer0 Friction.”

TAG Chief Commercial Officer Kevin Joyce commented “We’ve always concentrated on the product itself, but no longer. 90% of the people in this industry think of TAG as just another Multiviewer company. This has been our mistake. We are now pivoting the conversation from the product itself to its unique ability to provide Probing, Monitoring, and Multiviewing across the entire video ecosystem (Live production, Playout, Delivery and OTT).”

Telestream

The flagship product of Tektronix Video, now a business unit of Telestream, is PRISM. The PRISM T&M solution is specifically designed to simplify communication between IT and Engineering with familiar and easy to understand graphs. It is a uniquely versatile and future-proofed measurement platform designed for studios, outside broadcast trucks, edit rooms and similar environments.

Telestream recently introduced the v 1.10 software update for PRISM. It supports more advanced tools for HDR and WCG productions in 4K and HD. The upgrade is available for any PRISM model with the license to enable HDR and WCG features support.

Telestream Vidchecker is a Windows software application for PCs/servers, accessed through a web browser.

Telestream Vidchecker is a Windows software application for PCs/servers, accessed through a web browser.

Vidchecker and Aurora check and monitor Telestream’s automated workflow, providing file-based QC and correction to avoid the potential costs of rejection and rework. As signals head for OTT, Multiscreen, or traditional linear TV broadcast, Telestream iQ and Sentry solutions ensure the best possible video experience with hardware or virtualized probes providing comprehensive feedback on quality and availability at every point in the delivery chain.

“Quality has always been central to everything we do,”  Telestream CEO Scott Puopolo said. “Every investment we have made has been to ensure that our customers have the highest quality output at every stage of the media lifecycle. This is one of the main reasons organizations build their production pipelines with Telestream products at the core."

Telestream also showed OptiQ Monitor, a cloud-native and specifically cloud platform agnostic system. It offers real-time deployment of live ABR monitoring across 282 public cloud availability zones in over 100 geographic regions. Using this set of cloud services, users can dynamically spin up monitoring projects with real-time video QoE analysis and a comprehensive view of CDN delivery network QoS performance.

Telestream also announced a strategic contract with Taiwan’s Pay-TV service provider Chunghwa Telecom selecting Telestream for QoE assurance & 4K media processing. Chunghwa Telecom will adopt Telestream’s Vantage media processing platform for its 4K broadcast operations. At the same time, Chunghwa Telecom will ensure its QoS standards are met using Telestream’s Vidchecker automated Quality Control software for file-based media. Chunghwa Telecom’s investment in Telestream Vantage is a strategic move by the broadcaster, enabling it to be 4K-ready in the future. It will be used across the broadcaster’s VOD and Live Catchup workflows.

Triveni Digital

Triveni Digital highlighted new enhancements to its end-to-end ATSC 3.0 solutions at NAB NY. Triveni Digital's StreamScope XM Verifier, StreamScope XM MT Analyzer, GuideBuilder XM ATSC 3.0 Transport Encoder, and a new Advanced Emergency Alert (AEA) Editor were at the heart of several NAB NY demonstrations with partners. The demos focused on showing broadcasters how to make a smooth transition to the ATSC 3.0 era and deliver NEXTGEN TV experiences to viewers while maintaining the broadcasters' primary ATSC 1.0 revenues.

The most significant enhancement is support for multiple PLPs within a broadcast transmission. In addition, StreamScope XM Verifier now offers a wide range of RF advancements (e.g., LP bars, bootstrap data, L1 basic data, L1 detailed data, L1 PLP data, quick status, and subframe data), providing broadcasters with improved analysis and visibility into ATSC 3.0 quality of service.

Configured for SDI or ST 2110 environments, the new Video Clarity RTM solutions can test a full satellite transponder of video programming in a single 1RU system.

Configured for SDI or ST 2110 environments, the new Video Clarity RTM solutions can test a full satellite transponder of video programming in a single 1RU system.

Video Clarity

Video Clarity recently announced that new RTM products for high definition and standard definition testing now provide additional channels of testing for broadcast and satellite distribution of encoded and statistically multiplexed channel groups.

The RTM solution applies the Emmy award winning MS-SSIM metric which applies an industry accepted method for accurately measuring quality by the University of Texas Laboratory for Video and Image Processing. By providing an independently developed and verified measurement with high correlation to human subjective quality studies, the MS-SSIM metric in Video Clarity’s RTM systems and software ensures that tests performed are accurately scoring video content for the user.

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