Whats new in broadcast test and measurement


The test and measurement product category continues to expand as the broadcast business itself diversifies. Notable recent developments include higher resolution displays and a gradually increasing number of analysers which, having detected a fault, endeavour to fix it. No sign at NAB 2011 of any tablet-based test and measurement equipment but perhaps that is only a matter of time.....
Agama has introduced a new analyser offering continuous monitoring of digital television services. Uninspiringly named the Agama Analyzer, it can be used throughout the delivery chain, monitoring multiple digital TV streams. MPEG-2 and MPEG-4/AVC video for SD and HD are supported. Measured parameters include IP packet jitter and packet loss. Multiple probes can be deployed across a distribution network.
Cel-Soft recently added an automatic logging option to its Cel-Scope 3D stereoscopic analysis system. This generates a printable report of depth budget and depth plot for quality control by editors during post-production. It logs against timecode the maximum and minimum depth values employed in a 3D sequence. These measurements can be shown either in percentage of screen width or in horizontal pixels. The software can also be used on-set by cameramen or stereographers for rig alignment, running on a laptop.
DK Technologies' DK Meter is a compact desk-mountable unit designed offering stereo and 5.1 metering, including loudness. It accepts digital audio inputs and is supplied with ITU, EBU & ATSC loudness measurement recommendations, as well as the standard DK-Technologies meter scales. The meter also provides graphical loudness measurement plus the company's StarFish surround sound display (in model DK2) or vectorscope (DK1). Updates will be available to allow for any new or updated standards.
Dolby's DP600 Program Optimiser provides a range of audio tools for loudness correction, audio creation, conversion, and upmixing. The DP600 includes intelligent audio analysis and automated loudness normalisation. It can also encode, decode, convert and transcode between Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, and Dolby E bitstreams, as well as PCM, MPEG-1 LII, AAC, HE AAC, and HE AAC v.2.
Hamlet's DigiScope DS900 is designed for 3 gigabit/s processing and measurement, modules being are available for all common analogue and digital standards. Measurements include eye pattern for fast check on the security of a digital circuit. Test traces can be displayed on any suitable monitor. Supplied in a half rack width 1 RU shallow cabinet, the DS900 includes space for four internal input modules plus a generator module. Control is via three touchscreen displays on the front of the unit. The left display allows the user to select one or all of the four available inputs. The centre display acts as a confidence monitor. DVI and XVGA outputs are incorporated.
Leader's LG 3860 is a transmission signal generator with optional encoding software supporting a wide range of digital broadcasting standards. An integral encoder and upconverter allow variation of channel frequencies and output levels. The generator can be used as a simple loopback transmitter at a broadcast station. Features include still-image pattern and audio tone generation plus the ability to play back user-defined transport streams by connecting the LG 3860 to a PC through USB 2.0.
Murraypro recently introduced the Test Chest 3G, a handheld 10-bit video signal generator for 3G-HD, 1.4-HD or SD. A continuously moving puck can be added to any of the test signals generated, to catch downstream MPEG motion artifacts and synchroniser freezes. A circle of 16:9 or 4:3 format can be inserted, confirming the aspect ratio of the programme material or for checking local monitors. An alphanumeric ident can be overlaid. Output includes 625 or 525 composite video.
OmniTek's TQ and TQ Lite are designed specifically for SD and HD broadcast monitoring applications. Optional packages are available to bring TQ Lite up to the level of the standard TQ and to add additional functions such as Dolby-E support to either system. A high-resolution proxy of the SDI input can be viewed alongside the waveform data, providing real-time update and displaying SD images at full resolution and full frame rate. HD images can be displayed at half resolution. A pulse-cross function allows the contents of horizontal and vertical blanking areas to be examined. Timing cursors can be overlaid on the proxy. Burn-in windows are provided for timecode, closed captions and teletext .
Phabrix introduced its Rx modular product range at NAB 2011: the Rx2000 2 RU dual screen analyser, the Rx1000 1 RU rasteriser and the Rx500 1 RU half-rack rasteriser. Options include physical layer functions (eye and jitter), separate generator modules, Dolby and an impending ASI decoder. Output resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels. Each module has its own FPGA so is not slowed down by needing a separate motherboard.
Pixelmetrix' Electronic Couch Potato (ECP) provides feedback on various service quality parameters from set-to-boxes to a central site. Service plan verification, channel switching and multiple measurements on service quality for each channel are reported to a central management console. The company's Video Quality Index video quality measurement option scans all channels, identifies common video impairments such as macro-blocking, tiling and freeze frame. Measurements are consolidated across all channels and remote sites.
Rohde & Schwarz' Vega Suite software allows off-line analysis of compressed audio and video signals and MPEG-2 transport streams. The software can analyse MPEG-2 transport streams (DVB, ATSC, ISDB) and MXF files as well as H.264, H.264 SVC, H.264 MVC, H.263, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, AVS, VC-1 video formats. MPEG-1/MPEG-2 Audio, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby E, AAC, HE-AAC and MP3 audio standards are supported. Data streams such as teletext, DVB subtitling, closed captioning, XDS and EPG can also be analysed. Batch processing can be used to analyse multiple files automatically.
Tektronix' WFM5200 is a compact rasterising waveform monitor capable of monitoring up to four 3G-SDI signals simultaneously. Features Spearhead and Luma Qualified Vector displays for colour correction and grading, loudness and true-peaks measurements (to ITU-R BS.1770-1 / 1771, EBU R 128, and ATSC RP A/85 recommendations), multi-rate colour bar and pathological signal generation for basic installation and maintenance applications. Price is from $6,000.
Bristol-based VidCheck introduced at NAB 2011 Version 2 of its VidChecker automatic quality control software which checks and endeavours to correct video and audio problems in file-based media. New features include the VidChecker Grid which uses multiple processors and multiple cores on individual PCs and also links networked PCs to function as a single QC system, automatically scheduling QC processing tasks. It is scalable from a single PC processing four files concurrently to multiple PC nodes each processing four, eight or 12 files.


Tags: iss054 | eye to eye | test and measurement | agama | cel-soft | dk technologies | dolby | hamlet | leader | murraypro | omnitek | phabrix | pixelmetrix | rohde schwarz | tektronix | vidcheck | N/A
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