Technological advances in the broadcast industry


Alan Wheable TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Download PDF
Download PDF

Since it is Omnitek’s 20th anniversary this year, I thought it would be interesting to look back over the technological advances in the broadcast industry over the last few decades and look at the similarities between then and now.

When I started work in the Broadcast television industry in 1975, video was analogue (with only 3 of 4 formats to worry about, audio was ‘just audio’ and networking was a black art practiced by an ‘elite group’ of IT wizards. I was lucky enough to join a small company that had developed the first video rate analogue to digital convertor. That company grew to become Quantel, who were at the forefront of the digital television age.

Analogue television transitioned to SD digital video, and now digital video over SDI offered the opportunity to combine all of the elements (audio, video, control and metadata) over a single wire. Surely this would solve all of the industry’s problems? Networking was still just a black art. Interestingly today, a large proportion of the world’s television viewers still watch ‘analogue’ television.

Then came the advance of HD video and this just seemed to fit into the existing infrastructure and only added a few more formats to worry about. Advances in network speeds and topologies started drawing the attention of some in broadcast who saw an opportunity to directly link together broadcast programme content creation with delivery via terrestrial and the internet.

After much discussion, experimentation, trial implementations and recognition by standards bodies and industry syndicates alike, SMPTE 2110 was born. This now advocates separating the video, audio and ancillary elemental (control and metadata) streams thus returning the industry back to the days before SDI. These days anyone wanting to implement an IP solution has either got to be one of the ‘IT Wizards’ or become one very quickly.

Oh, and by the way, the number of potential video formats, link types, colour spaces, dynamic ranges, etc is now eye watering.

What is needed just to keep track of the content streams (video, audio, control and metadata) is a piece of Test & Measurement equipment that can let you ensure that the content streams are correct, regardless of how and where they were created, what format, frame rate, colour space, dynamic range or how they actually got to you for checking.

After its highly successful launch at NAB 2017, the Ultra TQ has become a network connected Broadcast Waveform Rasteriser supporting both SDI up to 3G and SMPTE 2110 / 2022-6 IP connections. This configuration has become popular with many broadcasters as it provides the flexibility and future proofing that is essential in changing technological times.

For NAB 2018 the Ultra TQ now gains the ability to analyse and decode Dolby E and D audio for monitoring and quality checking, the ability to de-embed SDI / 2110 / 2022-6 audio content to AES/EBU Audio outputs as well as the ability to monitor AES/EBU Audio on discrete audio connections. There is also and analogue monitoring output, for those who actually want to hear the audio quality.

The IP connectivity and the new audio functionality will also be available on the Ultra XR as an upgrade for existing customers.

Ultra TQ’s analyser instruments include picture, waveform monitor, vectorscope, gamut meters, full audio monitoring and loudness measurement, video timing, video / audio status monitoring, event logging and closed caption logging as standard. These can monitor either SDI or SMPTE 2110/2022-6 SFP inputs. This makes the Ultra TQ ideal for a mixed SDI / IP environment and ‘muggles’ (non IT Wizards) like me.

The option structure has been designed to provide the basic functionality required for broadcast as standard with options to enable the more sophisticated functionality for more specialised analysis in different stages in the production workflow.

The Ultra platform has been designed to be robust and reliable and comes with a year’s factory warranty as standard. This warranty can be extended, at nominal outlay to minimize the cost of ownership when maintenance budgets are tight.

Omnitek operates a flexible upgrade process to accommodate changing industry needs and workflows and allow customers to migrate the functionality of their existing Ultra product to any other variant.

Come and see Ultra TQ and other Ultra Family members at NAB 2018 (Central Hall, Booth C7412).


Tags: iss130 | omnitek | test and measurement | smpte 2110 | untra tq | 2022 | sdi 2022-6 | Alan Wheable
Contributing Author Alan Wheable

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Download PDF
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Omnitek Updates for Ultra 4k Toolbox at NAB 2018

    Omnitek Updates for Ultra 4k Toolbox at NAB 2018

  • Omnitek Ultra TQ at IBC 2017

    Omnitek Ultra TQ at IBC 2017

  • Omnitek Consultancy and Design Services at IBC 2017

    Omnitek Consultancy and Design Services at IBC 2017

  • Omnitek at IBC 2016

    Omnitek at IBC 2016

  • Omnitek at NAB 2016

    Omnitek at NAB 2016

  • Omnitek at BVE 2016

    Omnitek at BVE 2016

  • Omnitek Ultra 4K Tool Box at IBC 2015

    Omnitek Ultra 4K Tool Box at IBC 2015

  • Phabrix RX2000 at NAB 2013

    Phabrix RX2000 at NAB 2013

  • Phabrix at BVE 2012

    Phabrix at BVE 2012

  • Sencore at IBC2011

    Sencore at IBC2011

  • Leader at IBC2011

    Leader at IBC2011

  • Murraypro at IBC2011

    Murraypro at IBC2011

  • Hamlet at IBC2011

    Hamlet at IBC2011

  • Tektronix at IBC2011

    Tektronix at IBC2011

  • Phabrix at IBC2011

    Phabrix at IBC2011

  • SMPTE 2110, UHD and HDR solutions from Phabrix at NAB 2019

    SMPTE 2110, UHD and HDR solutions from Phabrix at NAB 2019

  • PHABRIX QXIP support for SMPTE 2110

    PHABRIX QXIP support for SMPTE 2110

  • Mediaproxy MediaPlayer publishing to Social media SDI, 2110, 2022-6 and NDI at IBC 2019

    Mediaproxy MediaPlayer publishing to Social media SDI, 2110, 2022-6 and NDI at IBC 2019

  • Phabrix Technology Demo at IBC 2016

    Phabrix Technology Demo at IBC 2016


Articles
Taking a Stand at IBC - The Future of Exhibiting Clouds
Julian Wright If you’re reading KitPlus you probably don’t need us to tell you that, each year, the IBC Show attracts 1,700 exhibitors, each parting with a significant sum of money for the privilege of touting their wares from the darkened halls for five whole days. For the last eight years Blue Lucy has been one of these exhibitors and the show has always more than paid for itself in generating new business, as well as the less directly-tangible benefits from partnerships and networking opportunities.
Tags: iss140 | blue lucy | ibc | cloud | iabm | Julian Wright
Contributing Author Julian Wright Click to read
MEDIAPRO leads across the audiovisual value chain
Marc Andreu Valls

MEDIAPRO is a leading independent production company in Europe’s audiovisual market. Offering a full slate of technical and creative services, our portfolio includes everything from content production, to post production, to media and digital asset management, to the acquisition of sports TV rights, and the distribution and broadcast of television channels. We currently have 58 offices spread across 36 countries on four continents.

Tags: iss141 | signiant | mediapro | media shuttle | transport | Marc Andreu Valls
Contributing Author Marc Andreu Valls Click to read
Never Stop Learning....Or Spending
Peter Heaven I’m over 75, and have been a member of the Bristol Film and Video Society (www.bristolvideo.org.uk) for several decades. Like the great majority of members, I am not and never have been a video professional but have video interests beyond the club and its productions. For some time I have been recording lectures (for other clubs) using a Panasonic HDC-HS100, a lovely little hand-held camera recording Full-HD 1920x1080i which has given very good service. But it has a 3.5mm jack for an external mic and this proved limiting, so I looked for a small mic mixer.
Tags: iss140 | bristol film and viudeo society | pinknoise | hc-x1 | h preston | lilliput a7 | Peter Heaven
Contributing Author Peter Heaven Click to read or download PDF
Complex Live Streaming At Scale
KitPlus On Saturday September 14th in the Content Everywhere Hub Theater at IBC, Zixi hosted a panel featuring partners and customers who have integrated with and utilized the Emmy-winning Zixi software for contribution and distribution of live video over managed and un-managed internet connections.
Tags: iss140 | zixi | streaming | video transport | ip | zen master | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
A Place For Placements - TVFutures
Luca Di-Maio I've been interested in media all my life… making short films with my mates in Windows Movie Maker when I was little... I never really knew where I wanted to go career wise, but I knew I always liked video production. So it will come as no surprise that I chose a degree that would provide that outlet, and I hoped that dedicating three Years to studying BSc Television and Broadcasting at the University of Portsmouth would turn my fantasy career, into reality.
Tags: iss140 | portsmouth university | avid | nle | media composer | Luca Di-Maio
Contributing Author Luca Di-Maio Click to read or download PDF