Test & Measurement At The 2022 NAB Show

The central theme in the 2022 TV T&M market segment is better, faster, more reliable, simple and affordable.

The pandemic and economics are driving the growth and need for more and better REMI and IP production tools. More universal high-speed, wired, and wireless internet access and the pandemic has opened the flood gates of demand for creative engineering at the Test and Measurement (T&M) manufacturing level.

The advantages of less-expensive digital remote TV production relative to ENG microwave and uplink trucks are clear. Today, fewer people can produce better TV with lower capital investment and operating expenses.

For example, solid-state recording has reduced the costs of recording and storing TV content by well over 90% and the quality is infinitely better than the best analog videotape. It’s a win-win for stations and viewers that requires critical monitoring, testing and measurement to achieve and maintain optimal QoS and QoE magic.

On the other hand, the two most necessary TV studio T&M instruments, waveform monitors and vectorscopes, cost more than 10x what they cost 20 years ago. The latest waveform monitors and vectorscopes are filled with myriad new deep-engineering features, but for the operators and technicians in charge of the video level, set-up and chroma controls simply trying to avoid crushing dark scenes and/or compressing bright scenes, most new waveform monitors and vectorscopes are a bit overkill. Many studio and control room ingest technicians are better served with a basic speedometer, not an engine analyzer.

Waveform rasterizers cost less than standalones, but most still cost more than a higher-end, 4K camcorder. Sometimes T&M can be a difficult ROI sell in a CAPEX meeting. Camcorders make money. T&M makes them sparkle.

2022 NAB Show T&M Predictions

The 2022 NAB Show is less than two months away and counting, and T&M manufacturers are preparing to showcase their latest and best solutions in the Las Vegas Convention Center. The usual pre-pandemic flood of pre-NAB Show press releases in all broadcast categories has diminished to a trickle. It’s not that the industry isn’t doing well, in fact many T&M manufacturers report record sales.

Without annual world-wide debut marketing targets such as NAB and IBC, new broadcast TV gear hardware and software solutions are being released when ready. New products are designed and introduced faster and more frequently than ever due to better technologies and stronger market demands.

Many of the new T&M products at the 2022 NAB show are software and firmware upgrades or cloud based. The flood of many new product introductions at NAB and IBC has become more of a steady stream that seriously interested parties can find preview demos of on the internet. However, when the number of internet demo or product announcement views is visible, it's nothing compared to NAB visitor numbers.

Typically, about 8 weeks before the day a NAB Show opens, many industry journalists have collected about 20-30 pre-NAB Show exhibit highlight press releases. At 8 weeks out this year, I can count all the 2022 NAB Show exhibit releases on one hand. This year's NAB exhibitors are playing their cards close-to-the-vest, as they say in Las Vegas. We’re keeping our email and eyes open and hopes up.

Cobalt Digital

In its recent 14 Feb blog, Cobalt Digital shared emerging trends it sees for 2022. “The increase in programming delivered over IP will continue this year. News coverage, TV shows and films have accounted for the most significant growth, but the use of streaming services for video games, computers, podcasts, listening applications like audible books, and consumer-produced media has escalated substantially as well. And the COVID pandemic made digital meeting applications such as ZOOM, GoToMeeting, GOOGLE Meets and more, a vital necessity to maintain both business and social communications. Supporting all of these is an explosion of streaming technology that incorporates high speed and low latency capabilities to reward those spending time on social media, messaging services, and network TV with a superior viewing experience.”

Cobalt Digital’s 9905-MPx openGear card includes independent up/down/cross convert scalers specifically designed for broadcast video formats, with full ARC control suitable for conversions to or from 4:3 and 16:9.

Cobalt Digital’s 9905-MPx openGear card includes independent up/down/cross convert scalers specifically designed for broadcast video formats, with full ARC control suitable for conversions to or from 4:3 and 16:9.

In the Cobalt exhibit (N3713) spotlight, expect to see its 9905-MPx audio/video processor, and its new INDIGO ST 2110 openGear-based uncompressed solution. Cobalt’s 9905-MPx 3G/HD/SD Quad-Path Up/Down/Cross Converter/Frame Sync/Embed/De-Embed Audio Processor is an audio/video processor for baseband digital signals up to 3G, offering four independent signal paths.

The INDIGO 2110-DC-01 is a factory add-on option to Cobalt’s 9904-UDX-4K and 9905-MPx cards. These cards include an advanced audio/video processing engine, capable of up/down/cross conversion, audio routing, color correction, 3D-LUT processing, as well as SL-HDR encoding and decoding. This option adds native SMPTE ST-2110 support with multiple 25G Ethernet interfaces.

The Company’s RIST (Reliable Internet Stream Transport) Main Profile Security Option for its compression line will also be on display. The RIST Main Profile Security Option adds built-in encryption and authentication to the Cobalt compression line, which includes both encoders and decoders. This allows broadcasters to protect their content without having to add separate security devices, as it is a built-in feature for the encoders/decoders.

Leader

Leader Electronics acquired PHABRIX shortly after the 2019 NAB Show. Products from both companies will be on display in the Leader exhibit (C6118) at the 2022 NAB Show. Leader will spotlight its LVB440 IP Analyzer. It supports ST2110 and ST2022-6 flows at dual 40 Gbps bitrate, and dual 60 Gbps with additional options. Streams from SD to 4K (UHD) can be monitored, with 8K monitoring configurations available. The LVB440 offers familiar visualization tools such as waveform monitor, vector scope, picture monitor, and audio pairs.

Real-Time Eye (RTE) provides physical layer analysis testing for SMPTE compliance with indication of DC offset.

Real-Time Eye (RTE) provides physical layer analysis testing for SMPTE compliance with indication of DC offset.

Sharing the Leader spotlight is the PHABRIX QxL. It is a suite of IP monitoring tools, ST2110 analysis feature set, Real-Time Eye display, audio and video generation, Dolby E decoder and metadata analyzer, and AMWA NMOS toolset.

Also on display will be Leader’s LT4610 Sync Generator, LV7600 Rasterizer for SDI and IP signals, LV5600 "True-Hybrid" waveform monitor, and LV5900 8K waveform monitor.

TAG VS

TAG Video Systems has been busy innovating over the past 6 months. For example, TAG added support for NDI 5 and SRT as a part of Ongoing Platform Enhancement. Both protocols dramatically increase connectivity and signal transport options and open the door to greater collaboration and creativity. This development is in line with TAG’s continuous platform enhancement initiative that focuses on providing customers the quickest possible access to emerging technologies for future-proof workflows.

SRT (Secure Reliable Transport) is an open-source transport protocol originally developed by Haivision that allows for robust transmission of high-quality high-bandwidth video signals over public internet, unmanaged networks and WANs, and similar networks with unpredictable performance without loss or impairments. With minimal latency, SRT can assure transport of signals across these networks with no loss of quality while also providing encryption to protect content during transit.

With support for NDI 5, the latest version of NDI, TAG customers can automatically discover and connect to a wide range of NDI sources from cameras and switchers to PCs, phones, tablets and video conferencing applications such as Skype. Using NDI, TAG customers can capture the output from PCs making it simple to add websites, PC UIs and video conference participants as tiles on a TAG mosaic. TAG also enables NDI as an output format, providing an inexpensive, low-latency and high-quality connection to display devices.

TAG also recently announced support for the latest series of Intel Xeon processors and PCIe4 architectures as part of its ongoing platform enhancement initiative. This enhancement underscores the Company’s dedication to providing users access to the most recent technology advancements and the highest level of value for their monitoring, probing and visualization needs.

Intel’s PCIe4 (PCI Express 4.0) hardware is the latest version of PC motherboard expansion card interface. With availability of PCIe4 computer systems, the interconnect bandwidth is doubled compared to the PCIe3 version and provides up to 32 GB/s of bidirectional data per card slot. With TAG’s support for COTS servers and cloud instances that support PCIe4, TAG is now effectively able to double the amount of uncompressed signals that can be processed.

TAG’s Realtime Media Platform will monitor and visualize all formats, cloud and ground, in real-time.

TAG’s Realtime Media Platform will monitor and visualize all formats, cloud and ground, in real-time.

TAG also recently launched its Realtime Media Platform. It is groundbreaking, open-source paradigm that monitors, aggregates, manages and utilizes data-driven viewer analytics to provide users with the insight required to build performant linear media systems. The unique, multi-level Realtime Media Platform provides users with the tools they need for informed and intelligent decision making resulting in a precise and pristine viewer experience and leading to an increase in consumption, elevated customer engagement, and heightened loyalty.

Comprised of multiple levels, the foundation of the Realtime Media Platform is TAG’s MCM (Multi-Channel Monitoring), a software-based IP end-to-end monitoring, deep probing, logging, and visualization solution offering numerous deployment options including bare metal, virtual machine, cloud and hybrid. The MCM monitors every type of signal from live production through OTT delivery and supports hundreds of sources including all the latest formats and transport methods such as JPEG XS, NDI 5, Dolby ATMOS, SRT and AWS CDI.

TAG also recently announced that Cerberus Tech Ltd, provider of live content delivery services and IP toolkits, has partnered with TAG Video Systems to provide customers with realtime visualization and monitoring capabilities. This announcement marks the beginning of a collaboration between the two companies, which has already led to cost-savings and greater confidence in signal integrity for Cerberus Tech customers. TAG is a leading provider of realtime, software-based, deep monitoring of linear video workflows.

Telestream

Telestream provides digital media tools and workflow solutions beyond T&M. About the time Leader acquired PHABRIX after the 2019 NAB Show, Telestream acquired Tektronix’s video test, monitoring and quality assurance solutions for the broadcast and digital media markets and merged them into Telestream’s portfolio. The flagship former Tektronix product is the PRISM SDI/IP waveform monitor. PRISM is available in several form factors and always being upgraded. Look for new PRISM software and features in the Telestream exhibit (C3007).

PRISM MPS and MPD Series expand the platform family with multiple inputs, fast IP switching, and rack-mountable form factors.

PRISM MPS and MPD Series expand the platform family with multiple inputs, fast IP switching, and rack-mountable form factors.

Also expect to see a demonstration of Telestream’s iQ Solution’s latest monitoring technology, Inspect 2110. It monitors and troubleshoots the QoE and QoS of SMPTE ST 2110 & ST 2022-6 streams in video production networks.

Wirecast was updated to 14.3, and several other enhancements have been added since the release of 14.0. Highlights include Secondary Display Output as an alternative to hardware-based program out, Placeholders and Shot Templates save time when setting up new productions, SRT output, ISO recording for shots in your document, and support for Apple Silicon hardware.

Telestream also added new functionality in its Lightspeed Live Capture platform. Of strategic importance for broadcasters and OTT streaming service providers seeking large-scale capture platforms with inherent resilience combined with high channel density, Telestream will introduce new hardware interfaces – 12G and ST 2110 – in the latest version (3.3) of the Lightspeed Live Capture system.

The company also has introduced several other significant products not necessarily in the T&M category such as the Stanza, subscription-based, broadcast-quality, captioning and subtitling solution.

The Telestream Cloud suite of services will also be on display allowing customers to mix and match services that meet their specific needs. Telestream Cloud service was supposed to debut at NAB 2021.

The latest versions of Content Management solutions including Kumulate and DIVA allow customers to easily migrate, update and upgrade their media libraries without affecting day to day operations. Attendees will see how to intelligently manage their storage on-premises, remotely or in the Cloud.

For video quality assurance, new tools for monitoring of QoE and QoS in the production network will be demonstrated. Users benefit from enhanced visibility post origin server of encrypted streams and Dynamic Ad Insertion. Flexible cloud, virtual or appliance-based deployment options are available.

Telestream has continued to advance the state of the art in cloud and hybrid deployments for media processing and video quality assurance. Several Telestream media processing and workflow automation tools will be on display including updated versions of the Vantage Media Processing Platform, ContentAgent, and Lightspeed Live Capture.

Telestream also introduced a new version of its GLIM Media Player said to “Play the Unplayable.” New UI and a new GLIM appliance offers up to 15 concurrent playback sessions of high-resolution files over low-bandwidth connections from anywhere in a browser. Built for broadcast engineering, operations and post-production personnel who need to visually QC files when they are remote from the media, GLIM plays master video files of any size and format directly to a browser, on-the-fly, without the need to generate a proxy. Who hasn’t needed a flexible solution like that?

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