As live broadcast and production environments have increased their signal sources, the need to simplify the monitoring of those sources has grown exponentially. That’s why, much like the way they revolutionized the monitoring of signals in the video control room, software-based multiviewers are now poised to penetrate the equipment rack room.
At NAB several companies that offer video routing switchers will be showing options to their respective systems that allow engineers to view all of the signals available to them (as data and live video) in one centralized location. Others are sure to follow.
Representatives at Grass Valley (with its Trinix NXT and Concerto series in booth #SL106), Harris (Platinum Series in booth #N2502) and Utah Scientific (The UTAH-400 series in booth #N4511) all said that these new multiviewers save on space, cabling, power complexity while providing real-time access to every input (within a broadcast facility, production studio or mobile production truck) via a high-quality image for each input. And since the multiviewer is fully integrated within the router, it eliminates the need for additional cabling and other hardware—which leads to a more reliable multiviewer. There are also a lot of control built in, including wall controller capabilities. This is used for spanning images across multiple display screens.
“All of your signals are already available to you, so you don't have to worry about gaining access,” said Kerry Wheeles, director of marketing for routers, multiviewers, master and branding products at Harris. “So you don't have to DA and route it from one place to another. This is really a logical progression. We’ve offered standalone multiviewers and routers for several years. It just makes sense to put the two together.”
Harris will introduce its HView SX Pro, a scalable, multi-display management system. Customers can use the HView SX Pro as a standalone solution or integrated within the company’s Platinum routers. The unit offers low-latency processing and enhances image quality through Harris’ exclusive MicroFine scaling technology. A number of built-in control features provide an array of display options, from single-surface video wall configurations to multi-unit or multi-room systems.
Wheeles said the HView SX Pro’s compact high-density design accommodates more sources and outputs in fewer rack units to reduce system and installation costs. Users of Harris Platinum series routers can now get access to up to 16 channel inputs and drive three display outs in a single slot (there are several slots per RU).
Grass Valley will debut its own version of a multiviewer for its family of Trinix NXT multi-format digital video routing switchers. The new multiviewer option that includes on-screen mouse and cursor functionality to expand individual tiles to full screen, a series of signal monitoring, status and alarming features, and the ability to easily import or export configurations for pre-determined screen layouts.
At the NAB 2012 Show, Grass Valley will show this high quality, fully integrated multiviewer monitoring capability integrated into its Trinix NXT routers. The option supports infrastructures up to 3 Gb/s while providing up to eight HD-SDI multiviewer monitor outputs per card—including the ability to monitor audio for each source. All existing Trinix frames (including every Trinix sold since the product’s introduction in 2001) can be easily upgraded to support the new Trinix Multiviewer solution.
“The Trinix multiviewer simplifies the workflow for the vast majority of signals, resulting in lower system cost, reduced complexity, significant reduction in cabling, and greater flexibility,” said Steve Dupaix, Director of Marketing for the Video Systems Group at Grass Valley. “The Trinix multiviewer is ideally suited to monitoring within all types of broadcast control rooms, live production and distribution facilities, and mobile trucks. Customers gain access in a simple way to every source in the router without extra output paths and cables.”
With less than 75 watts typical power consumption for eight outputs, each Trinix NXT Multiviewer board includes 32 scalars with all inputs and outputs on each board supporting all video standards (from 480i to 1080p). By using the card’s cascade capability, the system can also support more than 128 images on a single output without rescaling the cascaded signals. Users can also set up a single image to span multiple monitors, creating stunning video cubes.
At lasy years' NAB Utah Scientific introduced a multiviewer option (UTAH-400/MV) that integrates seamlessly with the company's UTAH-400 series router control system and eliminates the need for dedicated router ports for monitoring. The multiviewer, which will be on display this year, offers multiple outputs that allow the user to control the number of pictures to be displayed on each screen. Built-in cable extenders are included for easy installation and outputs can be formatted in DVI, HDMI, or HD-SDI, to support the widest-possible range of display devices.
Look for multiviewers to begin showing up on smaller routers as well.
“As the flexibility and reliability of this approach becomes more widely known and accepted, smaller products will take advantage of this approach more and more,” Dupaix said. “It’s already happening in many small-format video switchers.”
And these systems can be controlled via any IP connection, making them accessible from literally anywhere in the world. Remote production companies are beginning to take notice. Harris already has some beta customers using the product in the field.
“Integrating the multiviewer into the router makes everything more efficient, “said Wheeles. “You don’t have to buy separate frames, power supplies, controllers and you’re not duplicating your signals just to gain access to a specific part of your plant. We’re getting more functionality, at higher quality, in less space. There are a lot of hidden advantages that are not apparent until you actually build out a system. For engineers, it makes their life so much easier.”
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