CCW Show to CALM attendees’ loudness concerns

At the 2012 CCW Show, November 14-15, in new York city, conference attendees will see showings a wide variety of audio stream measurement devices, some with the ability to adjust and correct for loudness while others simply alert an engineer when a program does not comply with new government regulations that go into effect this December.

The myriad of audio loudness technology demonstrations will be part of the HD World conference. The CCW Show also includes a full slate of technical exhibits and sessions surrounding the Production+Post Expo, 3D World and SATCON exhibitions.

With its close proximity to New York’s broadcasters and production studios, the CCW Show offers a cost-effective way to stay in touch with the latest regulatory issues— the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act being a major one. The idea is to avoid customer complaints and, eventually, FCC fines.

“Broadcasters and really anyone that handles programming has to understand the new audio level rules and implement the right technology to fix problems or they will be fined by the FCC,” said Michael Driscoll, CCW Event Director. “This year’s CCW show will have something for everyone, but audio loudness, and other technologies in particular, will be key topics of discussion. Within a smaller setting than some other conventions, the CCW Show helps attendees get their questions answered quickly and by those with the most knowledge of these and other complex issues.”

Among the companies that will show technology designed to address audio loudness, as per the Advanced Television Systems Committee (U.S.) and International Telecommunication Union (Europe) standards, include:

Cobalt Digitalwill highlight its baseband and IP/ASI solutions for loudness management, measurement and record systems (Booth 1136). The company will demonstrate its LMNTS (Loudness Management for n-Transport Streams) multi-channel, transport-based loudness processing technology and SpotCheck, a transport stream compliance monitor.

Cobalt’s SpotCheck monitors an IP, ASI, or a transmitted over-the-air MPEG stream at the transmit (emission) encode point, and provides easy-to-use, convenient, long-term access to loudness records for all programming initiated from a broadcasting facility.

Segments can be searched via the intuitive display of loudness plots along with date/time-stamped thumbnails of the actual corresponding programming, or can optionally be queried and correlated using a database relationship with the facility as-run automation list. SpotCheck readily pinpoints all segments that are outside of CALM compliance providing documentary proof should an erroneous complaint appear. Ethernet control enables integration with facility IT providing long-term logging/thumbnail storage.

Requiring no breakout from the MPEG stream and not affecting the emission stream in any way, SpotCheck provides an easily integrated, facility-based, powerful solution for loudness records and compliance interrogation and verification.

Triveni Digital has released new software for its StreamScope real-time DTV program stream analyzer that now provides end-to-end MPEG-2/MPEG-4 transport stream analysis and monitoring for DTV services carried by broadcast, cable, satellite, and IPTV networks. While the StreamScope already included audio monitoring capabilities including dialnorm, this software release extends its capabilities by allowing users to monitor and analyze audio loudness according to ITU-R Recommendation BS.1770. This allows broadcasters to continuously log and export accurate LKFS/LUFS loudness measurements of transport streams in real time so that they can collect the forensic evidence of compliance that is critical for addressing this issue.

Triveni Digital will also show its RM-40 CALM monitor, which remotely measures, analyzes, and records loudness levels for multiple DTV audio streams to help ensure CALM Act compliance, resolve loudness issues, and deliver a high quality of service. This compact 1-RU server monitors LKFS loudness levels for up to 12 AC-3 audio streams from any network location. Its Web-based GUI makes it easy to isolate and analyze potential CALM violations.

Making its debut at 2012 CCW (Booth 1301) will be WohlerLoudnessWohler’s new turnkey solution powered by RadiantGrid (which Wohler acquired in April) and leveraging Linear Acoustic's industry-leading AERO.file technology. This platform helps users correct file-based content with built-in upmix and downmix capabilities. Utilizing file-based inspection/correction software, it also allows operators to identify and correct loudness issues at ingest, and before they become a problem. The platform performs multipass scaling, loudness range control, and upmixing and downmixing with support for Dolby Digital (AC-3) and Dolby E decoding and encoding, plus a host of codecs for other audio formats. WohlerLoudness also manages ancillary data and advanced audio processing for channel remapping and insertion of new channels into the video/audio process, and is fully compliant with ITU-R BS.1770 and EBU R128. 

Linear Acoustic (Booth1211) will show its AERO range of real-time and file based loudness managers, UPMAX upmixing and downmixing solutions, and the LQ series of loudness metering products. On display at CCW will be the AERO.1000, a high-density expandable audio and loudness-processing platform. It provides up to eight 5.1+2+2 AEROMAX audio engines, including UPMAX upmixing and downmixing, along with up to eight Dolby encoders and decoders, and Nielsen Watermark encoding, in a 1RU package.

The audio and loudness processing platform offers 3GHz HD/SD-SDI with compensating video delay, AES, stereo analog I/O and dual power supplies as standard, with available DVB-ASI I/O for up to 4 PIDs. AERO.1000 features Linear Acoustic CARBON Hybrid Processing technology, a combination of single-ended multiband processing and reversible metadata control of dynamic range to preserve content quality.

Voliconwill demonstrate its Observer platform offers loudness measurement tools to protect against excessive audio levels. The system provides visibility of audio, video, and measurement data; accurate selection of aired content; and seamless access to any piece of content. The Observer measures AC3 dialnorm levels and is compliant with the ITU BS.1770-1 and BS.1770-2, ATSC A/85 RP 2011, CALM Act (FCC Report 11-182A1), EBU R128 (Tech 3341/2/3/4), and ARIB TR-B32 specifications.

Volicon’s loudness module provides graphing, exporting measurements, and integration and reports with as-run logs. The Observer’s logging plus loudness measurements allow both monitoring as well as effective troubleshooting. Intuitive overlay controls within the Observer system’s Web-based interface allow users to maintain continuous measurements that identify program loudness and loudness range. The Volicon system measures momentary, short-term, and integrated measurements, with adjustable short-form (e.g., 10, 15, 30, 60 seconds) and long-form (days) time frames that make it easy to compare the ad loudness to surrounding content. Users can view and export ad A/V affidavits with audio, video, and frame-accurate loudness measurements burned in, which facilitates fast resolution of loudness complaints. The system’s fully compliant integrated loudness monitoring not only simplifies the overall monitoring workflow, but also adds value by eliminating the hassle and cost of working with external systems.

Along with the U.S. mandates, the ITC is also mandating a certain specification (global standard BS.1770-3) to control audio loudness among European broadcasters and content distributors. Illustrating that the CCW show accommodates professionals from around the world, UK-based 

TC Electronic is releasing new BS.1770-3-compliant updates for its DB2 Loudness Correction Processor, DB4, DB8, DB4 MKII and DB8 MKII TV Transmission Processors, LM2 Stereo Loudness Meter and the pro audio signal-processing flagship System 6000 MKII.

The company has also unveiled a new website dedicated to the loudness issue. TC Electronic recommends all users of DB2, DB4, DB8, DB4 MKII, DB8 MKII, LM2 and System 6000 MKII to update their products to keep compliant and stay ahead of the curve.