2016 NAB Product Review: Test & Measurement

With the 2016 NAB Show behind us, questions about the show’s trends have died down. However, looking at the announced and delivered products for the test & measurement category, it’s clear where the industry is going: 4K, HEVC, ATSC 3.0 and increasing amounts of IPTV.

featured its line of transport stream analyzers that includes the top-of-the-line Smart DVB 90-series. The Smart 90-series provides monitoring, analysis and display of transport stream integrity, and covers a range of features such as assessing the stream’s signaling parameters and EPG content.

Bridge Technologies highlighted its Timeline Data Analysis that stores all data collected through the monitoring system (and other sources if connected) for up to two years of operation, and allows engineers to play back through the historical data at any time in a multitrack timeline display similar to an NLE system.

DekTec has updated its StreamXpert 2.0 HEVC decoder and transport stream analysis system, which also supports analysis of MPEG-2 and AVC video. Available in a “Lite” version that can be easily upgraded to the full version, StreamXpert 2.0 provides real-time analysis, monitoring and recording of transport streams.

Interra showed its Orion-OTT content monitor that checks both VOD and live content for compliance inconsistencies, download errors, content quality and ABR package integrity. The system also monitors audio for CALM, ITU and EBU compliance.

MediaProxy updated its LogServer suite of logging and transport stream analysis products to include new advanced data monitoring panels in the Monwall IP multiviewer to facilitate real-time analysis and monitoring; advanced OTT monitoring at scale for HLS, SmoothStreaming and DASH sources/profiles; support for 4K/HEVC sources; and a new native mobile app for real-time broadcast stream monitoring supported on iOS/Windows Mobile and Android devices.

Nevion CP4400 transport stream processorNevion launched its CP4400 transport stream processor, which can check both transmitter feeds and regional DTT multiplexed signals. The CP4400 also supports deterministic re-multiplexing technology that can feed transmitters in single frequency networks using a pre-existing direct-to-home satellite system as a feed.

Qligent demonstrated its Vision cloud monitoring platform that provides detailed visibility into channel-sharing configurations, as well as bandwidth-challenged VHF and UHF channel scenarios. Vision lets broadcasters monitor, analyze and troubleshoot signal health and program quality throughout each step of the air chain.

Sencore showed its AG 9000 UHD HEVC monitoring decoder, which provides HEVC 4K decoding for monitoring real-time linear distribution video feeds. The AG 9000 card can be used in any Ross openGear frame, with up to 20 channels deployed in 2RU.

Tektronix SentryABRTektronix unveiled end-to-end adaptive bit-rate monitoring decryption and decode functionality for its Sentry ABR video quality monitoring platform. Sentry ABR can now view this encrypted digital rights management content to evaluate the actual viewing experience. The company also debuted its Prism hybrid SDI/IP media analysis platform, which diagnoses and correlates SDI and IP signal types and quickly identifies the root cause of the error, whether it is in the IP layer or in the content layer. In addition, Tektronix demo-ed its SPG8000A master sync and PTP grandmaster clock generator, with optional, field upgradeable PTP (IEEE 1588) support for both traditional SDI-based and IP-based media infrastructures. Lastly, Tek highlighted the latest extension to its MTS4000 and MTS4SAV3 test platforms to include comprehensive HEVC analysis tools and an enhanced closed caption analyzer for ensuring FCC compliance.

Torque Video showed its DVMon ASI MPEG transport stream monitor that has four ASI inputs in a 1RU chassis. The unit continually compares transport stream parameters and service attributes with what is actually being transmitted, flagging errors as they occur.

Triveni Digital showed off its new GuideBuilder XM ATSC 3.0 signaling and announcement generator, which creates the required on-air guide for ATSC broadcasting. The ATSC 3.0 version includes many new features, including allowing short video clips linked from the on-screen guide that can be used for previews and teasers.

Vidcheck debuted Vidchecker v7.0, which provides testing of video, audio and container parameters on four files simultaneously. Videchecker 7.0 can automatically correct typical errors, and provides confidence monitoring at the playout stage.

Volicon demonstrated how its Observer OTT ingests content from each point in the OTT pipeline to provide a look at how consumers experience streamed content and to speed isolation and resolution of quality issues for content viewed on various devices. Observer OTT-Cloud and OTT-Device are products for logging and monitoring streaming content to computers and mobile devices.

Nora Bradford (L) listens to Tony Dobrousky of DSC explain the company’s Screen Align display calibration tool.VIDEO
Cobalt Digital
debuted the +T-Slate “trouble slate” feature as a standard part of its openGear 9960-TG2-REF1 dual-channel 3GSDI test generator and corresponding Blue Box Group BBG-1060 units. +T-Slate allows users to upload multiple custom full-screen graphics to use as full-raster output signals.

DSC Labs showed its interesting Screen Align display calibration tool that lets you precisely match your monitor to calibrated colors. Important for accurate color grading, Screen Align has a simple optical/ mechanical system to facilitate the match.

Robert Levato (L) of Leader explains a point on the company’s LV 5490 4K/HDR waveform monitor to Aaron Spense of Panedia in Australia.Leader Instruments rolled out the CineLite II test suite for a variety of the company’s test instruments, one of which was the new LV 5480. Using CineLite II, a 4K video image can be analyzed down to individual pixels for precise level and lighting adjustments. CineLite comes standard on Leader’s new LV 5480 SD/HD/3G SDI 4K-upgradeable multi-format waveform monitor it introduced at the show. Based on the LV 5490, the LV 5480 feature set includes waveform, vector and picture monitoring, an ancillary data viewer, data dump and four-channel timing display.

Omnitek rolled out the Ultra XR Advanced 4K/UHD waveform analyzer that targets colorists, post-production editors and other content creators preparing 4K/UHD material. The unit has a full-resolution monitor output, 4K waveform display, vectorscope, CIE color chart, pixel data display, audio PPMs, ANC packet analysis tools and interlink video timing analysis.

Phabrix introduced the Qx UHDTV1/4K and UHDTV2/8K generator/analyzers for monitoring and compliance of 4K and 8K video. Qx is available in two versions: one with RTE technology for physical layer analysis, and one without.

Video Clarity RTM 4KVideo Clarity released its RTM 4K, a 4Kcapable version of the company’s RTM real-time audio and video monitoring product. RTM 4K can input 4K video sources and compare them with encoded/decoded 4K video to test for video quality, audio quality, lip sync and loudness, and correlate results to accepted scales of human perception.

Imagine Communications featured the Videotek CMN-91-3GB multiformat signal analyzer with integral LCD, which tests signal quality across all DTV formats up to 3 Gbps and provides waveform, vector, gamut, timing and full-screen picture display.

showed its range of RF test instruments, including the SRM-3006 selective radiation meter that performs narrowband analysis of electromagnetic fields. The SRM-3006 can be used to verify compliance with the FCC’s “five-percent rule” that determines interference between two RF signals.

Rohde & Schwarz showcased a test setup for ATSC 3.0, with the BTC broadcast test center and the FSV signal and spectrum analyzer. The ATSC 3.0 signal generated by the BTC was demodulated by the spectrum analyzer and displayed live. As a reference signal generator, the BTC offers analysis functions and automated tests for audio, video and multimedia applications.

Promax spotlighted the HD Ranger 2 signal analyzer with its new seven-inch touchscreen for more intuitive operation. The HD Ranger 2 features a spectrum analyzer, constellation display, QAM monitoring, satellite signal analysis and transport stream monitoring.

Bob Kovacs is the former Technology Editor for TV Tech and editor of Government Video. He is a long-time video engineer and writer, who now works as a video producer for a government agency. In 2020, Kovacs won several awards as the editor and co-producer of the short film "Rendezvous."