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2017 NAB Show T&M Preview

Television Test & Measurement instruments on display at annual NAB shows reveal where the TV industry and broadcast technology trends are headed. The 2017 NAB Show will continue to uphold that tradition.

Where can you see the latest broadcast gear in Las Vegas? Watch the baggage claim carousels at McCarran International Airport and you will see some of the latest gear headed to the 2017 NAB Show. It’s arriving in Thermodyne-style shipping cases and likely brought as baggage by the person who makes it work, and might have just got it working reliably the day before. Both will be looking their best at the 2017 NAB Show.

Test & Measurement (T&M) is the industry trend indicator. Individually, T&M products and solutions provide a highly detailed display of waveforms and measurements. As a group, the T&M category is the industry crystal ball for future trends.

One of the reasons T&M defines the leading edge is that other industry manufacturers and developers need to scientifically test, measure and verify the signal inputs and outputs of their products and prototypes to conform to the latest formats, standards and candidate standards. Similarly, users need to scientifically verify standards compliance during production, post and distribution.

Three imaging and display curiosities have transitioned to crucial industry trends. 4K UHD, HDR and WCG will affect more 2017 NAB Show visitors than any other imaging and display trend. Only a handful of broadcasters are transmitting UHD today, but it’s coming to a TV station near you because the FCC just gave it the green light.

The other industry trend to be seen in nearly every T&M exhibit is SDI/IP hybrid T&M gear. Digital video was the trend of the first decade of the millennium, and IP video is the trend of the second decade. IP video is maturing, as is IP itself. Bandwidths and resolutions continue to increase, bringing new challenges and opportunities to the industry and TV T&M manufacturers.

Some manufacturers aren’t quite ready to announce specifics yet, and a few will bring a new product in as last-minute baggage, not knowing until show time if a new product will be ready to display to the world or not. Because of that, not all T&M exhibitors are included in this article. Those T&M exhibitors willing to share their plans at this time are described below in random order.

Tektronix

Tektronix is bringing solutions to help the broadcast and media industry navigate through the IP transition. The Tektronix exhibit will display the latest hybrid IP and SDI media analysis solutions, such as PRISM.

Tektronix PRISM is a media analysis solution for hybrid IP/SDI infrastructures.

Tektronix PRISM is a media analysis solution for hybrid IP/SDI infrastructures.

The latest PRISM firmware will be on display, supporting SMPTE ST 2022-7 redundancy, IGMP V3 and new API support. The exhibit will also demonstrate how PRISM provides detailed PTP timing measurement and analysis for hybrid system setup and maintenance.

The Tektronix WFM8000 with new HDR capabilities will also be shown. The company notes “an increasing demand from content providers to produce more content with stunning 4K HDR picture quality.”

The company will also demonstrate products for Adaptive Bit Rate (ABR) monitoring of live and on-demand content.

A fundamental requirement of a hybrid IP and SDI infrastructure is the ability to synchronize the facility in a mixed packet and frame-accurate environment. Tektronix SPG8000A master sync and PTP grandmaster clock generator offers Precision Time Protocol (PTP) support for such a hybrid IP and SDI media infrastructure.

Triveni Digital

Triveni Digital will debut its ATSC 3.0 "starter kits" designed to bring broadcasters up to speed in a real-world environment. Starter kits will be introduced throughout the year and encompass everything from file-based monitoring to live encoding and over-the-air transmission options, leveraging Triveni Digital's GuideBuilder XM signaling and announcement generator, ROUTE/MMTP encoder, and StreamScope XM MT service quality assurance system, along with third-party technology from trusted ecosystem partners.

The entry-level starter kit includes Triveni Digital's StreamScope XM MT, without any physical inputs, for file-based analysis. This solution gives broadcasters greater insight into the physical structure of ATSC 3.0.

Triveni GuideBuilder allows broadcasters remote access to edit program metadata for DTV Services from any device.

Triveni GuideBuilder allows broadcasters remote access to edit program metadata for DTV Services from any device.

Option two expands the entry-level kit by including Triveni Digital's GuideBuilder XM, ROUTE/MMTP encoder, and a live source simulator. More advanced starter kits will feature additional elements of the ATSC 3.0 workflow such as encoding, packaging, modulation, gateways, and exciters from third-party technology partners.

Leader Instruments

Leader Instruments isn’t ready to reveal this year’s NAB debuts, but plans to show new high-dynamic-range features for the LV5490 4K waveform monitor and LV7390 4K upgradeable rasterizer.

A new LV7390SER20 4K upgrade allows the LV7390 to support 4K/UHD production and post. The upgrade includes 4K HDR measurement capabilities for the ITU.BT.2100 Hybrid Log Gamma, Dolby PQ and Sony SLOG-3 protocols. Its 1 RU form-factor makes it fit production environments that can’t accommodate a full size waveform monitor.

The Leader LV5490 is an upgradable multi-format waveform monitor supporting 4K video.

The Leader LV5490 is an upgradable multi-format waveform monitor supporting 4K video.

Also included with the LV7390SER20 upgrade is Leader’s CINEZONE HDR, which uses false color to display areas of the image extending into 4K HDR, and can be used with non-HDR monitors. Potential 4K HDR issues can be identified quickly and easily.

A new HDR option for the LV5490 enables the instrument to measure both 4K and HD HDR in ITU.BT.2100 Hybrid Log Gamma, Dolby PQ and Sony SLOG-3 protocols.

The LV5490 offers 4K, UHD, 3G, HD and SD test and measurement features in a compact portable unit. Waveform, vector and picture display can all be viewed at the same time on the LV5490’s 9 inch LCD monitor.

The company will also be demonstrating the LV5770A and LV5333 3G/HD/SD-SDI waveform monitors, LV5381 four-input HD/SD-SDI waveform monitor and the LV7770 multi-SDI and LV7330 rasterizers. All are compatible with world high-definition and standard-definition signal formats.

Bridge Technologies

Bridge Technologies expects to make “big announcements” at the 2017 NAB Show. The Bridge Technology’s exhibit will include VB288 Objective QoE Content Extractor.

The VB288 performs objective video and audio monitoring of MPEG-2, h.264/MPEG-4 and h.265/HEVC streams. It offers a unique web browser-based remote video-wall capability providing full visual status from anywhere. Operators can inspect massive amounts of content services beyond human capability with dependable alarming on objective parameters having QoE impact.

An enhanced chassis with one VB120 controller blade and two VB242 ASI input modules provides a total of 5 simultaneously monitored ASI inputs.

An enhanced chassis with one VB120 controller blade and two VB242 ASI input modules provides a total of 5 simultaneously monitored ASI inputs.

The company will also show a variety of new IP-Probe RF interfaces for monitoring. Each is self-contained and based on embedded electronics.

Also on display in the Bridge Technologies exhibit will be a series of Intelligent Redundancy switches. They are designed for satellite uplinks and for terrestrial transmit sites with unprecedented decision accuracy and autonomous operation. The system is delivered in a redundantly powered chassis, providing the first level of redundancy.

PHABRIX

PHABRIX will be demonstrating its latest V1 release for the Qx for UHDTV standards testing at the 2017 NAB Show. Since its launch, the PHABRIX Qx has become an established scientific test and measurement instrument for broadcast formats up to UHDTV 4K. Qx can generate accurate SMPTE standard test patterns from its on-board generator and analyze it instantaneously in a closed-loop process.

Based on a new platform to cope with the higher bandwidths of the new UHD formats, several new features are standard on the V1 release. These include waveforms, vectorscope, additional standards support, reference timing, pathological patterns (including 6G/12G), enhanced Dataview window, and audio monitoring with channel-select for listening.

The 30GHz bandwidth real time eye pattern is unique to Qx.

The 30GHz bandwidth real time eye pattern is unique to Qx.

In its application within broadcast manufacturing the Qx has its trade marked RTE ‘Real Time Eye’ which continues to impress with automated measurements, visibility of overshoot and undershoot, jitter timing and alignment meters and histograms. This combined with a separate jitter waveform display with decade jitter filters enables the Qx to help identify problems early in product development.

Telestream Vidcheck

Telestream will showcase its Vantage system. Vantage integrates Telestream’s Vidcheck VidChecker QC software tool for file-based media directly into a Vantage service and workflow action. This enables automated media QC checking, incorporated into any Vantage workflow.

Vantage monitors watch folders, analyzing content for any necessary transformation, and transcoding to the desired destination format.  VidChecker then does a QC comparing the original to the new output to ensure quality and all metadata is accurate.

Vantage monitors watch folders, analyzing content for any necessary transformation, and transcoding to the desired destination format. VidChecker then does a QC comparing the original to the new output to ensure quality and all metadata is accurate.

VidChecker performs a thorough check of the media, checking the file’s video and audio parameters, characteristics, and quality extensively. It can automatically correct the most common video and audio errors, providing not just legalization, but intelligent automated correction.

VidChecker users include post-production houses, broadcasters receiving file-based TV programs, shows, films, news, and commercials, and distributors of file-based commercials, music videos, and other media. VOD and Cable service providers also use VidChecker.

The combination of VidChecker and Vantage is a solution for those who must check file parameters and video and audio contained in many different formats. It works with MPEG-2 TS, MPEG-2 PS, MXF, MP4, MOV, ASF, AVI, LXF, GXF, Flash, and MKV containers. It works with Web Sub-SD, SD, HD, D-Cinema formats, MPEG-2, IMX, XDCAM, D10, DV25, DVCPro50, DVCProHD, MPEG-4, AVC/ H.264 (all profiles), AVC-I, WMV/VC-1, ProRes (all profiles), DNxHD, MJPEG, Raw YUV and RGB video formats, and audio: MPEG1/2, PCM, AAC, WMA, DV, Dolby AC3, Dolby E, on multiple tracks.

Rohde & Schwarz

Rohde & Schwarz provides instruments for digital and analog baseband generation, modulation, demodulation and analysis, as well as baseband analysis. The company will be demonstrating a number of T&M products in its exhibit.

The R&S Broadcast Test Center is a reference signal generator with audio/video analysis functions. It features analysis functions and automated tests for audio, video and multimedia applications. Its RF output frequency range is 100kHz to 6GHz.

The R&S SFE combines a high-quality RF modulator, a universal realtime coder and diverse baseband signal sources in a single unit.

The R&S SFE combines a high-quality RF modulator, a universal realtime coder and diverse baseband signal sources in a single unit.

On display will also be the SFE Broadcast Tester. It is a multi-standard signal generator with a high-precision modulator (MER typically 43 dB) that supports all common TV standards and a number of audio broadcasting standards, that operates from 100 kHz to 2.5 Ghz.

The company is perhaps best known for its RF signal analyzers and a number of them will be on display and explained. The ETL TV Analyzer is the universal reference for the analysis of TV, mobile TV and sound broadcasting signals. It combines the functionality of a TV and FM radio signal analyzer, a video and MPEG TS analyzer and a spectrum analyzer in a single instrument. The R&S ETL can also create and generate analog video signals, audio signals and MPEG-2 transport streams.

The company will also show and explain numerous A/V signal generators, video testers, test transmitters, compact modulators, and monitoring solutions.

Video Clarity

Video Clarity will showcase ClearView IP, the newest member of its ClearView line of video quality analyzers and an all-new product category for IP infrastructure use. The ClearView IP system allows users to play, record, and test quality of video over IP networks according to new video-transport standards. It also provides the option to mix SDI functions in the same system.

ClearView IP plays or records up to two channels of uncompressed video programming from a high-capacity testing server into a SMPTE 2022-6/7-compliant network. ClearView IP can apply the new IP standards and can play while recording in the IP domain. It is designed for manufacturers and programmers of broadcast products to use in their test labs.

The new ClearView Player IP is a high-capacity server with record and playback functions for uncompressed video using new IP-related video transport standards. ClearView Player IP represents a new category of playback servers specifically designed for use in an IP infrastructure.

ClearView Player IP is built for product manufacturers that need a reliable system to record one channel and play back up to two channels of uncompressed video programming into a SMPTE 2022-6/7-compliant network.

All Venue Players now provide a web server for browser-based control.

All Venue Players now provide a web server for browser-based control.

The company will debut the ClearView Venue Player, a video server that automatically plays multiple uncompressed segments of content to multiple screens in precise timing and sequence. Video Clarity's first product in the entertainment-playback market, the ClearView Venue Player is designed for broadcast, theme parks, live events, staged shows, and other environments that rely on repeated, synchronized video playback for entertainment and display. The ClearView Venue Player offers up to eight terabytes of storage and up to eight HD outputs or two UHD outputs in a 1 RU size.

MultiPlayer software is included with Venue Player. It makes synchronized playback possible, because it can automatically and interactively select sequences for playback in multiple video formats on up to eight screens at once. It lets Venue Player users program segments to play from multiple Venue Players according to specific timing and order of recall, and synchronized with devices and effects.

The Venue Player also contains new control functionality courtesy of MultiPlayer Manager, an application that enables browser-based control over configuration and playback.

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