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

  • PHABRIX QXIP support for SMPTE 2110

    PHABRIX QXIP support for SMPTE 2110

  • Phabrix Technology Demo at IBC 2016

    Phabrix Technology Demo at IBC 2016


Articles
AI in Media and Entertainment
David Candler Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a term appearing everywhere these days. What is happening in media and entertainment (M&E) that makes the industry ripe for AI? In other words, why does the M&E industry need AI?
Tags: iss134 | AI | wazee | David Candler
Contributing Author David Candler Click to read or download PDF
An Obituary to Timecode
Bruce Devlin - new A stoic and persistent character that stubbornly refused to change with the times, Timecode has finally passed on, but no-one has noticed. A long-lasting industry veteran, Timecode was brought into this world at an uncertain date in the late 1960s due to the needs of analogue tape workflows and the demand for synchronisation between audio and video devices. A joint activity between SMPTE and the EBU led to the work on Time and Control codes starting its journey to standardisation in the early 1970s.
Tags: iss134 | timecode | smpte | ebu | edit | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read
Giving Welsh sport a global audience
Adam Amor From the Ospreys Rugby Union team, to the Football Association of Wales, as well as national cycling, swimming and boxing coverage, Port Talbot based Buffoon Film and Media has been heavily involved in putting Welsh sports on the world stage.
Tags: iss134 | blackmagic | atem | buffoon | micro studio camera | Adam Amor
Contributing Author Adam Amor Click to read or download PDF
Keeping it remotely real
Reuben Such Everyone wants to do more with less. Always have, although it could be argued that doing more with more is something to aspire to, not many have that luxury. So let’s stick with the prevailing winds of doing more with less, and not just doing more, but doing it remotely, particularly in terms of production. Remote production, in particular, is getting a lot of attention in the field these days, but not so much in terms of the remote operation of fixed studios.
Tags: iss134 | remote control | IPE | IDS | Reuben Such
Contributing Author Reuben Such Click to read or download PDF
Accelerated Workflows with eGPU
Mike Griggs From the UK’s National Trust to magazine publishers to manufacturers, digital content creator Mike Griggs has a wide and varied portfolio of clients for whom he creates 3D art, motion graphics and multimedia exhibits. A typical day might involve sampling birdsong near Virginia Woolf’s country estate or creating 3D animations for VR. To keep on top of these demands, Griggs wanted to take the full power of the GPU computing revolution on the road.
Tags: iss134 | sonnet | egpu | amd | post production | editing | Mike Griggs
Contributing Author Mike Griggs Click to read or download PDF