Test & Measurement: Ask the expert


Alan Wheable TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Alan Wheable
Issue 107 - November 2015

What should an Eye diagram look like?

There are basically two different approaches to capturing the Eye Diagram from an SDI signal. These are real-time capture (employed by Real Time oscilloscopes) and signal subsampling (employed by Sampling oscilloscopes such as the Omnitek Ultra 4k Tool Box). All broadcast T&M equipment will use one of these approaches to create the Eye Diagram using a variety of proprietary techniques.

Real Time oscilloscopes build the Eye using the complete waveform from a single trigger point and captured from the signal at a frequency at least 2.5 times higher than the signal. Sampling oscilloscopes build the Eye pattern from individual pixels sub-sampled at a frequency lower than the signal with position of each sample offset from the previous.

These two approaches produce a subtly different pseudo-live display which the T&M equipment has processed and filtered to give the most accurate results.

The Eye pattern can be shown with or without jitter superimposed. With jitter the resultant Eye can be thicker, it can have movement and it can close. With 12G-SDI the permitted jitter for some frequencies is 8UI and even at 0.2UI the Eye will close making it difficult to measure accurately. So for most purposes the Eye should be jitter-free so that the signal shape can be seen and the critical parameters of amplitude, rise time and fall time can be measured.

A common misbelief with Eye Diagrams is that one display method is somehow better than another. In practice the method is irrelevant as the displayed Eye Diagram is nearly always the same and this is the important thing when making measurements.

How can I gauge the quality of an SDI signal and why is it so important for 12G-SDI?

The quality of the SDI signal is important as this determines the maximum cable length the signal can be sent and can be defined by the waveform shape and the jitter level.
The waveform shape is different for SD, HD, 3G, 6G and 12G SDI signals. For SD it is almost a square wave but for 12G it is more like a sinewave due to the attenuation of the high harmonic frequencies of the fundamental clock frequency.

Regardless of the clock rate, the most important waveform aspects are the amplitude, rise and fall times. Overshoot and undershoot are indicative of phase differences in the harmonic frequencies (normally due to return loss and signal driver quality) but as long as they are within specified limits they should not affect the overall cable length. Note that current generation, high slew rate driver chips for 12G-SDI can transmit over 60m with Belden 1694 A cable.

Even with the perfect waveform shape, the level of jitter will affect the cable length because the jitter effect is accentuated with lower signal level as the signal rise / fall times are longer. It is essential to remove jitter from the Eye Diagram and monitor it separately. Omniteks Ultra 4k Tool Box employs this method for this reason.

It is essential that Eye Pattern shape and Jitter measurement are within specified limits at the sending equipments output, over a 1m cable and using 100% bars as this is the best way to ensure that the signal can be delivered over reasonable cable length when actual live video is used.
How do I know that my equipment is immune to Potholes?

Potholes (or TRS-Induced Pathological Conditions) are long sequences of ones and zeros that can occur in the SDI data steam when the 8 data streams of the 4k / UHD image are multiplexed onto a single 6G-SDI or 12G-SDI cable. The effect of potholes is jitter, and potentially data errors, in the receiving equipment as it loses and re-locks after each occurrence.

These potholes potentially occur twice in every 512 lines when the TRS preamble sequences from the 8 different streams are multiplexed. For 6G-SDI the concatenated TRS preambles result in 8 consecutive words of 3FFh and 16 consecutive words of 000h. When this is serialised, it will cause 80 ones followed by 160 zeros at the scrambler input. In the worst case scenario, after the NRZI coding, this could produce a run of 179 zeros or ones in the resultant data stream.

To prevent this, a technique known as syncbit insertion is employed to stop these pathological sequences occurring. This requires the modification of the 10-bit parallel interface data stream to replaces the two least significant bits of repeated 3FF or 000 words, on all but the first set of words, with values of 10b for 000h words and 01b for 3FFh words.

Not all equipment employs syncbit insertion so the use of 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI pathological test patterns available on the Omnitek Ultra 4k Tool Box can ensure that receiving equipment is immune to potholes.
Which is the best Test Pattern to use with 4k / UHD equipment?

Due to the construction of 4k / UHD data streams, traditional line test patterns such as colour bars and multi-burst do not always show up underlying issues. With quad link 3G / square division implementations there is a risk that cables (links) can be swapped or delayed with respect to each other which will only show up if an appropriate moving test pattern or pattern sequence is used.

Ideally the test sequence should contain elements that will identify square division and 2 sample interleave artefacts as well as possible temporal issues if the individual link signals (ie quad link 3G or dual link 6G) are compressed or delayed with respect to each other.
What do good Jitter meters tell me?

As the clock frequency of the SDI data streams increases, the effect of jitter becomes potentially more damaging to the data. Timing and Alignment jitter at different frequencies can combine to exceed the permitted jitter level and cause data loss if the receiving equipment cannot tolerate it.

Jitter meters show the Timing and Alignment jitter level at different frequencies and match the SMPTE RP 184 Jitter Tolerance Template which defines the permitted jitter level within each frequency band for each SDI interface type.

Test equipment that only shows one or two frequency bands simultaneously does not give a realistic jitter measurement. Ideally all jitter frequency bands need to be monitored simultaneously. Tools such as Jitter Meters, Waveform, Histogram and Spectrum available on the Omnitek Ultra 4k Tool Box can give an in-depth view of the jitter landscape of the SDI signal.
What should I be monitoring in Ancillary Data?

With the increasingly sophisticated use of metadata to define how the video image is displayed, and audio is heard, it is essential that all Ancillary Data is correct to ensure that the viewer experience is as intended.

Firstly the structure of all data needs to be checked using the CRC word built-in to each data packet. Secondly the continuous presence of the data packets needs to be monitored. Thirdly the content of all data packet need to be checked to ensure that they have been correctly formatted and to do this the packets need to be decoded.

In the case of the SMPTE 352 packet (which defines the video format, image size, frame rate, colour space and link construction) this can be done by simply checking that the signal can be correctly decoded by the receiving equipment. For other data packets, appropriate test equipment such as the Omnitek Ultra 4k Tool Box is required to find and interpret the 50 plus different Ancillary Data packets that may be present on the SDI signal.

Tags: iss107 | test and measurement | sdi | data | potholes | monitoring | anchillary data | uhd | 4k | test pattern | jitter meters | eye diagram | Alan Wheable
Submitted by Alan Wheable Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
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Mike Colyer The Christmas decorations are down; the family have all headed home – and the New Year’s festivities have drawn to a close. I put my hand up to it – I’m a little drained. As such, I figured I’d start the new year with a Bluffer’s Guide to Batteries. With the cold weather setting in, it can be a nightmare to pick the right disposable batteries for small kit – and maintain rechargeable batteries in larger items. This article will take an overview of which batteries will last longer under certain usage conditions – and how to achieve the cell’s maximum potential.   
Tags: iss129 | batteries | alkaline | ni-mh | li-ion | lithium | Mike Colyer
Submitted by Mike Colyer Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Somewhere down the latency river
Ben Hawker Some people have been, understandably, getting fairly excited over the prospect of being able to deploy wireless cameras to capture and transmit 4K UHD. Manufacturers and developers are closing in on the ability to deliver systems that will offer up almost endless creative options at the highest – to date – possible picture quality.
Tags: iss129 | latency | 4k | wireless | rf | presteigne | Ben Hawker
Submitted by Ben Hawker Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Steadicam M-1 Volt: Tried and Tested
John E Fry Early in November some of us lucky Steadicam Operators from around the UK were invited to try out the new Tiffen M1 Volt, which is essentially an electronic motorized horizon assist unit attached to the gimbal of the latest Steadicam M1. Is it a good idea? As experienced Steadicam Operators, directors or producers, why would we be interested? Let’s investigate KitPlus fans!
Tags: iss129 | steadicam | volt | tiffen | m1 | John E Fry
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The Outlook for 2018
Duncan Payne January has arrived…and the New Year promises great opportunities for those prepared to seek them out, with the one certainty that change is constant.
Tags: iss129 | adamantean | finance | cvp | netflix | amazon | arri | hdr | sadie groom | rise | Duncan Payne
Submitted by Duncan Payne Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new This morning I was eating my healthy muesli and idly listening to Radio 4 when someone came on who claimed to be from the Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project.
Tags: iss129 | fake news | facebook | tv globo | amagi | robot | ai | artificial intelligence | Dick Hobbs - new
Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
A new AEON in Wireless 4k
JP Delport Whatever production companies are doing right here, right now, today, with wireless HD production tools, they want to do right here, right now, today with 4K UHD. That’s great, but common wisdom would share a host of challenges around 4k UHD, not least, the fact that 4K UHD requires 8x the processing power to transmit, then demands additional horsepower (and bandwidth) to accommodate the data and controls, wireless or otherwise, and of course, when you ramp up processing power, you ramp up heat generation, which needs to be efficiently evacuated.
Tags: iss129 | 4k | uhd | wireless | domo | JP Delport
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2018: A Changing of the Guard
Peter Savage 2 The guys at KitPlus asked me if I could write about what I think is going to happen in 2018 – a feel, or mood, piece of what we might see this year. I’m not sure why they asked me but perhaps it’s because I’ve been around the industry a long time. Anyway, to look forward I think sometimes it’s best to look back as history has a habit of repeating itself.
Tags: iss129 | azule | finance | Peter Savage 2
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Innovation in cameras moving to 4k
Tony Valentino For a number of reasons, wireless camera links needed time to migrate to 4K. However Broadcast Sports International, BSI, designs their own cameras and builds their own hardware and their transition to 4K is already complete.
Tags: iss129 | bsi | ref-cam | wireless | 4k | Tony Valentino
Submitted by Tony Valentino Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Taking the lead in the HEVC and 4k revolution
Malcolm Harland There’s probably a good reason that BVE is held in late February — it offers you a few weeks to set your annual plans in place. Then, once you’ve decided on the opportunities you want to take advantage of and improvements you want to make, you have a chance to visit this massive exhibition to see the latest technological innovations that will help to bring your plans to fruition.
Tags: iss129 | garland | hevc | liveu | hc11000 | media excel | ntt | bws | lu600 | Malcolm Harland
Submitted by Malcolm Harland Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Studio Invate - Case Studio
KitPlus Studio INVATE is a video company based in Bangkok, with an inventive reputation. Its public persona is everyday commercial work, such as producing highly creative videos, live broadcasts and commercials, for companies ranging from large industrial brands and retail businesses to educational institutions. But in between the studio and on-location work for clients, the company’s crew of 14 employees and a few dozen freelancers enjoy live-streaming video game tournaments.
Tags: iss129 | invate | newtek | tricaster 8000 | 3play | 4800 replay | blonde robot | KitPlus
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IP for everyone and 4k everywhere - that will be 2018
John Smith -new My first prediction for the coming year is that the use of IP to move broadcast content will increase dramatically.  Ultimately, it will become the commonplace, just as the use of IP has become part of our everyday, consumer lives.  Live sports are closely linked to this growth, as conversion of broadcast signals for transportation across established telecos networks enables content to be viewed in real-time, regardless if it’s in the next room or across the globe.
Tags: iss129 | medialinks | 4k | ip | vr | ai | John Smith -new
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Playing with Pink Floyd
KitPlus For the founder of London-based Hangman, James Tonkin, this has indeed been a summer to remember. After sixteen years of working in the same suites, he designed and moved his team into a new future proofed facility in Kew Gardens created specifically for the manipulation and delivery of formats in up to 8K HDR.
Tags: iss129 | hangman | james tonkin | david gilmour | pink floyd | Sony F55 | Sony A7RII | RED Dragon | URSA Mini | blackmagic | DJI Drone | KitPlus
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Panasonic GH5: Tried and Tested
Tim Bearder My journey as a filmmaker began with a select number of enthusiastic BBC reporters picked out and trained in the concept of Personal Digital Production by the American Video Journalist Michael Rosenblum.
Tags: iss129 | panasonic | gh5 | dslr | senheirser avx | c200 | Tim Bearder
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Capturing the spirit of Mexico
Leonardo Dalessandri Filmmaker, director and editor, Leonardo Dalessandri first came to fame with his stunning video ‘Watchtower of Turkey,’ which with more than 200 million views, garnered the accolade of Best Vimeo Video in 2014. His vibrant images are combined with a unique editing style, incorporating slow motion, hyper lapses and invisible match cuts to produce genuinely breathtaking final results.
Tags: iss129 | watchtower of turkey | davinci resolve | blackmagic. corona | Leonardo Dalessandri
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TVFutures: Learning is the key
Abbie Neill If you asked me the question ‘where do you see yourself after you graduate’ three years ago I would have probably answered  ‘in a lot of debt, but if you don't think about it, it doesn't exist because three years is a long time right ?’. WRONG! These three years studying Television and Broadcasting at the University of Portsmouth have been the quickest three years of my life. Back when I started I didn't really have any idea what I wanted to specialise in and the dreaded four letter word AVID used to be my biggest enemy. However I persevered through the 3792871 hours of lectures learning how to use the software, how it functions, neither did I think I'd be a one woman match of the day by graduation'.
Tags: iss129 | ccitv | portsmouth | university | avid | Abbie Neill
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Empowering connectivity choice in the field
Yvonne Monterroso Reliability, flexibility and ease of use are the key requirements when covering the news and live events, especially when the location could be anywhere. Connectivity is one of the biggest concerns in the field when the pressure is on to capture a key event – if you cannot establish a reliable transmission path to send your video back to the broadcast studio, there is no story.
Tags: iss129 | dejero | satellite | streaming | ku-band | cloud | Yvonne Monterroso
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Class: Do we still need standards
Bruce Devlin - new On the 1st January 2018, I officially took on the post of SMPTE Standards Vice President. The role has responsibility for all of SMPTE’s standardisation activities and it fills me with equal measures of excitement and terror.
Tags: iss129 | smpte | st2110 | dpp | Bruce Devlin - new
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Canon C200: Tried and Tested
Ben Sherriff There are many reviews about this camera online and a heap of incredibly detailed comparison and behind the scenes footage that will really give you a full insight into what it can do. So first a disclaimer - this review is less detailed and based on my personal reading of what this camera means for Canon and all other camera manufacturers and us – the users of these technologies. So, what’s all the fuss about?
Tags: iss129 | spellbinder | canon | c200 | c100mkii | c300 | red | alexa | asx-r7 | Ben Sherriff
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A Pandoras Box to empower the filmmaker
KitPlus The setting was Celebro Studios London, home to their fully 4k television studios, where journalists and industry commentators gathered late last November to witness the launch of the revolutionary Rotolight Anova PRO 2. This was no ordinary unveiling though, the launch was streamed live on Facebook and YouTube and hosted by award winning news anchor man Martin Stanford with Wesley Dodd, CEO of Celebro Media Group and Rotolight MD Rod Gammons in the studio.
Tags: iss129 | rotolight | celebro | anova pro 2 | led | lighting | wesley dodd | rod gammons | KitPlus
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Epictech makes headway: A case study
Daniel Harker Barnes Founded in January 2014, EpicTech Media have been providing high end video production to companies and musicians across the U.K. for over three and a half years. When approached earlier this year by the band Bodkin Lane, we relished the challenge of producing a video of their charity concert, in aid of Headway (www.headway.org.uk), despite the challenging size of the venue. 
Tags: iss129 | polecam | epictech media | ptz | povcam | Daniel Harker Barnes
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Speed in a Changing Media Landscape
Mike Nash We are living in the video era - the staggering statistics on video growth make that abundantly clear. According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology 2016–2021, video will make up 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2021, an increase from 73 percent in 2016. To put this in perspective, “it would take an individual more than five million years to watch the amount of video that will be crossing global IP networks each month in 2021.”
Tags: iss129 | hulu | amazon | netflix | signiant | svod | Mike Nash
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AoIP in the intercom world
John Sparrow Everyones talking about using AoIP (Audio over IP) in the broadcast world, but what does it mean to the operators actually making the production - the intercom users? And after years of interoperability taking the lowest common format of analogue tie-lines (also known as 4-wires), has intercom today already moved into the digital world by sharing digital audio resources with other types of hardware?
Tags: iss128 | clearcom | clear-com | dante | aes67 | beltpack | isdn | John Sparrow
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Marjan Television Network - a case study
Ian Muir Internet and Satellite content distribution now allows production companies and broadcasters to send targeted TV programmes and video to widely dispersed audiences all over world, whilst located where theres easy access to the technology, equipment and expertise to produce top quality programmes.
Tags: iss128 | ac ent | lighting | chroma-q | space force | fresnel | quasar | q-led | lumipix | stark400 | Ian Muir
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Managing Talent
Nicole Inanc Presenting for television is a talent that is critically competitive. Budding presenters around the world produce showreels, attend acting schools and fight to be the next Ant and Dec¦ but what is it exactly that makes a successful television presenter? As a wannabe TV presenter myself, I wanted to explore the exact process talent managers follow when finding the next big thing and whether I have exactly what it takes.
Tags: iss128 | portsmouth university | education | bsc | ccitv | Nicole Inanc
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Supporting broadcast quality control
Alan Wheable With the ever-increasing number of program channels and range of different program distribution formats, the process of ensuring program quality has become a complex one for contribution/capture, production, post production, server ingest and content distribution.
Tags: iss128 | omnitek | wcg | hdr | test and measurement | smpte 2110 | smpte 2022-6 | Alan Wheable
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There is no where to hide from cybercrime
Mark Harrison The media sector is an attractive target for cyber attacks of all kinds from malicious individuals who enjoy disrupting high profile shows, to organised criminals who are attracted by the value of content, to nation states aware that media is a way of conveying or distorting messages.
Tags: iss128 | dpp | cybercrime | microsoft | azure | tinopolis | security | Mark Harrison
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The dangers of live streaming without a license
Joseph Adamson The entertainment industry is visual and sound driven. Without these two elements there would be no such a thing as entertainment. Its obvious that there are people who create sound/s and visuals. Copyright laws were created to protect the industry and these artists. Many organisations have been created to look after musician, writers, poets and filmmakers. For example there are a number of bodies especially the MCPS [Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society], which is responsible for collecting royalties and licensing of music on behalf of musicians and music producers.
Tags: iss128 | ail | youtube | streaming | license | Joseph Adamson
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The Transition to a full end to end IP video solution
Brian Olson Most video professionals will agree that the future is IP. The question is, when and how do they make this transition? With manufacturers just introducing new IP products, many people are observing and waiting. However, the reality is that the move to IP is already rapidly taking place and is more transformational than the move from analogue to digital, SD to HD, or HD to UHD/HDR. IP will change the way that people interact with video, making it more flexible, more accessible, more scalable and will provide more opportunities for content delivery
Tags: iss128 | newtek | ptz | ip | uhd | streamstar | xsplit | vmix | ndi | Brian Olson
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Growing a news agency from the inside out
Lorna Garrett Growing a new media outlet in todays highly competitive market requires taking a strong look at the new ways media is being consumed. Many of the most successful recent startups are community focused, often finding a niche market that wants to be engaged in a way they perceive themselves. Al-Araby TV is a London-based news and current affairs satellite channel that has set out to do just that for Arab citizens.
Tags: iss128 | gpl | garland | al-araby | teracue | x-player | amino | aminet | icue | Lorna Garrett
Submitted by Lorna Garrett Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
State of the Nation - Telling Imaginary Stories
Dick Hobbs - new In mid-October, Nokia issued a press release from its headquarters in Finland, announcing a refocusing of its business, with a growing emphasis on digital health. Read on a few paragraphs, though, and you find this statement....
Tags: iss128 | samsung | ozo | vr | nokia | ibc | david attenborough | Dick Hobbs - new
Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Reunion on Kingsman ensures efficient workflow for sequel
KitPlus Both on and off camera, there are some collaborations that are built to last. Armed with the success of their work on the first film adaptation of the Kingsman comic book (Kingsman: The Secret Service), director Matthew Vaughan reunited with cinematographer George Richmond, DIT Joshua Callis-Smith and colorist Rob Pizzey, to deliver Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the upcoming second installment in the spy comedy series.
Tags: iss128 | kingsman | blackmagic | goldcrest | davinci | arri | dit | KitPlus
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When a lens is more than just a lens
KitPlus Matching shots between different cameras can be tricky at the best of times. But how do you match lens characteristics between a live action shoot and a CGI composition? The CP.3 XD lenses from Zeiss offer an efficient solution to this with their frame accurate meta-data.
Tags: iss128 | zeiss | lenses | lens | prime | cp.3 | cgi | vfx | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
How the Cloud can be enabled as traditional broadcast workflows evolve
David Schleifer The Cloud itself is fairly simple, but for broadcasters it can be difficult to leverage. It isnt technically complex but broadcast still overlaps requirements that need real time, high resolution and quick turnaround solutions. Plus, this is coupled with the need to connect with dispersed geographic locations, reduce costs and access multi-format assets. As a result, broadcasters have moved away from asking the basic question what can I do in the cloud? to trialling projects and implementations are now underway or under evaluation.
Tags: iss128 | ott | primestream | David Schleifer
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IP Prompting
Jon Hilton# The potential nirvana of interoperable IT, Telecommunications and Broadcast convergent technology definitely felt a lot closer at this years IBC with the launch of many, many broadcast IP ready devices, workflow and solutions. While the big ticket camera and live production infrastructures dominated the headlines there were a number of smaller but equally important IP workflows that were launched which are fundamental to successful, professional TV production and this includes the often forgotten world of TV Prompting
Tags: iss128 | portaprompt | ip | prompting | ippg | windigi | Jon Hilton#
Submitted by Jon Hilton# Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Leveraging licensed broadcast spectrum assets
John Payne There are several different approaches to transmitting live and file-based content from the field to the studio. Traditional microwave Electronic News Gathering (ENG) provides high bandwidth, high-quality transmission with low latency. Using the secure, dedicated BAS spectrum keeps control in a broadcasters hands. The past few years have seen a shift in video technology toward acceptance, and adoption of IP-based links into ENG workflows.
Tags: iss128 | eng | bas | imt | vislink | imt-vislink | John Payne
Submitted by John Payne Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine