NAB Show Product Review: Test & Measurement

Broadcast test gear has traditionally been discrete devices, such as waveform monitors, vectorscopes, spectrum analyzers and field-strength meters. However, these functions—and many more—have for some time been migrating to the IP world, where discrete devices are replaced by probes and software.

With broadcast signals themselves shifting from dedicated SDI feeds to IP streams, there’s less need for probes and more reliance on the capabilities of the software. There is still the need for discrete test devices, but the 2017 NAB Show continued the trend to software-defined test & measurement.


AXON DIGITAL showcased the latest version of its Cerebrum control and monitoring software now with support for products from Evertz, AJA Video, Axia, Allen & Heath, Panasonic, Ross Video, Yamaha, Rohde & Schwartz, Quintech and Blackmagic Design.

DEKTEC highlighted StreamXpert 2.1, which features off-line analysis of files that include HEVC, Dolby AC3 and AC4. StreamXpert 2.1 can be combined with a DekTek DTU-245 USB plug-in and a notebook to create a portable transport-stream analyzer.

INTERRA SYSTEMS showcased Baton , a hybrid QC solution for file-based workflows that checks content for quality throughout a plant. The company also featured Orion- OTT, a software-based OTT monitoring solution for delivery of live and VOD streaming content.

NEVION showed the latest update to its Virtuoso software that adds support for JPEG2000 encoding of UHD/4K video, 2K resolution format for film production, audio embedding and de-embedding, frame synchronization, audio processing and PTP synchronization. Virtuoso also monitors SMPTE 2022-6, JPEG2000 and SD/HD/3GSDI and AES encryption.

Qligent Vision-ATSC-3
Qligent Vision-ATSC-3

QLIGENT unveiled Vision-ATSC-3, which provides broadcasters with an easy-to-use workflow to correlate and analyze multilayer data from nine points along a signal path. Since Vision-ATSC3 is software-based, it can be deployed now for ATSC 1.0 performance, and provide oversight during the migration to ATSC 3.0.

SENCORE featured its CMA 1820 compressed media analyzer that supports HEVC/H.265, H.264, MPEG2 and VC-1 video, along with AC-3, AAC and MPEG audio.

Ralph Bachofen
Ralph Bachofen (L) of Triveni Digital describes the performance of the company’s StreamScope XM MT broadcast stream analyzer to Patrik Lannto of Wisi Norden in Sweden.

TORQUE VIDEO SYSTEMS debuted Incremental File Transfer for DVStor, for compliance recording, disaster-recovery and playout applications. It targets news organizations that monitor overseas news broadcasts and want full-resolution clips back at their home studios, as DVStor can remotely acquire full-resolution content and efficiently transfer it to a central “catcherˮ machine.
TRIVENI DIGITAL demonstrated its ATSC 3.0 “Starter Kit,” which includes the company’s Stream- Scope XM MT, without any physical inputs, for file-based analysis. A step-up version of the starter kit adds the company’s GuideBuilder XM, ROUTE/MMTP encoder, and a live source simulator.


Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design SmartScope Duo 4K with measurement features

BLACKMAGIC DESIGN announced new scopes operating on the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K model, including waveform, RGB parade, vectorscope and histogram that can be viewed full-screen for evaluating video signals in up to 4K resolution. They will be available in June as a free software update for Blackmagic Video Assist 4K customers.

HENRY ENGINEERING demonstrated its Systems Alert Monitor (SAM), which monitors the systems of a typical broadcast facility and provides visual, audible and email indication if anything goes wrong or needs attention.

IMAGINE COMMUNICATIONS showed its Videotek MSA-100 multisource analyzer that couples confidence monitoring with testing of compressed video conformance, audio level, data services and ETR-290 on any terrestrial broadcast, cable headend, satellite or telco network.

LEADER INSTRUMENTS introduced updates to its LV5490 test set, which now offers 4K, UHD, 3G, HD and SD test and measurement features. Waveform, vector, five-bar and picture display can all be viewed at the same time on the LV5490’s 9-inch LCD monitor.

Marshall Electronics
Marshall Electronics OR-185-3GSDI master confidence monitor

MARSHALL ELECTRONICS introduced its OR-185-3GSDI master confidence monitor that includes a range of professional production and analysis tools in an 18.5-inch IPS panel. The monitor includes built-in waveform, vectorscope, histogram, and 3D monitoring functions along with robust audio analysis tools.

OMNITEK showcased its Ultra TQ waveform monitor, which features a range of displays such as picture, waveform monitor, vectorscope, video status, video timing, audio meters, audio status, timecode logging and line pattern generator.

PHABRIX rolled out the Qx 12G test set that performs signal generation, analysis and monitoring across SMPTE 2022-6 IP and HD, 3G, 6G and 12G-SDI formats. For HDR/WCG applications, the Qx 12G provides new generator patterns plus a CIE 1931 X-Y chart with Rec.709 and Rec.2020 overlays for measuring chromaticity.

ROHDE & SCHWARZ highlighted the Prismon, a monitoring and multiviewer system designed to support present and future content transport and media format standards. In addition to supporting classic and IP-based SDI signals, it also offers a comprehensive set of protocols for OTT/streaming scenarios.

Tektronix Sentry ABR
Tektronix Sentry ABR

TEKTRONIX featured its Sentry ABR test system that works with adaptive bit-rate streams and measures perceptual video quality (PVQ). In addition to providing PVQ measurements, Tektronix’ Sentry ABR also gives an end-to-end view of the Quality of Experience (QoE) for all profiles by decrypting and decoding the live video and audio from the origin or caching servers for both encrypted and unencrypted content.

TELESTREAM spotlighted Vidchecker, an automated quality control software package that the company acquired last year. Vidchecker is optimized for checking file-based video before and after distribution, and for use by broadcasters for checking files received from post-production and content distributors to ensure that file, video and audio parameters and levels are ready for broadcast.

VIDEO CLARITY debuted the ClearView IP system that allows users to play, record and test quality of video that travels over IP networks using the latest video-transport standards.


AVATEQ featured its AVQ1020-ActiveCore RF layer monitoring receiver and signal analyzer that works with all major digital broadcasting standards, including proprietary modulation schemes.

HITACHI-COMARK showed its QoS-1000 RF layer monitoring receiver with the latest ATSC 3.0 software. The QoS-1000 is a quality-of-service tool for transmitter RF signals, and provides near-real-time user metrics including symbol and constellation diagrams as well as RF spectrum, RF shoulders, MER/SNR, and frequency response/group delay.

By: Bob Kovacs