‘As hybrid workflows that bridge the IP and SDI worlds become the norm, test and measurement tools that support hybrid environments become increasingly more important’ says PHABRIX’s Martin Mulligan, SVP Sales and Operations.
With the industry’s steady migration from traditional HD-SDI to IP and/or 12G-SDI infrastructures, broadcasters are now faced with the significant challenge of having to manage and monitor a wide array of new signal types in order to provide properly managed workflows. The switch away from HD-SDI is not happening overnight and, indeed, is happening at different speeds in different parts of the world. Due to this rapidly evolving technology landscape, reliable and versatile test and measurement (T&M) solutions have never been more important.
We’re seeing plenty of interest in our flagship Qx rasterizer, which, at IBC this year, showcased advanced features to help solve the highly complex IP generation, analysis and monitoring issues our customers are facing.
The Qx now offers the very latest hybrid IP/SDI test and measurement tools. Recently we added support for SMPTE 2110 (-20, -30, -31, -40), ST 2059 Precision Time protocol (PTP), and two-port ST 2022-7 seamless protection providing the simultaneous monitoring of 1 video, 2 audio and 1 ANC data flow in up to 16 active and scalable windows. The two audio flows support up to 10 channels each at 1ms, and 80 channels at 125us, with either PCM or AES3 Transport. The latest feature set now includes operator status information for PTP, 2022-7 seamless reconstruction and the timing relationship of flows to PTP.
Advanced engineering measurement tools include support for ST 2110-21 with ‘Network Compatibility’ and ‘Virtual Receiver Buffer’ models, advanced PTP to Flow Timing data view, and Inter-Packet Arrival Times for all flows that contribute to the ST 2022-7 seamless reconstruction.
Recent purchases of the Qx include NEP UK, which bought an additional trio of PHABRIX Qx to expand its roster to 15 installed in 10 trucks and five flypacks, supporting major sporting projects in both IP and 4K. Feedback we’ve had from NEP UK says that its engineers value its intuitive, user-defined instrument layout with the ability to display up to 16 simultaneous windows.
NEP Live Events company, Creative Technology, has also just bought a fourth Qx to address the expanding market in 4K capture, which it estimates now represents about 20% of the company’s overall projects.
“The demand for 4K in music and touring is certainly growing, primarily for recording,” comments Sid Lobb, Head of Vision & Integrated Networks at the company. “The LED screens that we shoot for are becoming higher and higher resolution, so they need better quality images.”
Innovation doesn’t just stop with PHABRIX’s latest IP software releases either. We’re continuing to develop and push the Qx Series forward in both the IP and SDI worlds.
We’ve also been hard at work developing the Qx Series’ new SDI-STRESS option, which provides an advanced toolset for SDI interface stress testing. Coupled with its fast, automated 12G-SDI physical layer analysis employing RTE™ (Real-Time Eye) technology, SDI-STRESS has been constructed to be a world-class solution to SMPTE compliance verification of 12G/4x3G/2x6G/6G/3G/HD-SDI interfaces. The toolset now includes full and windowed eye amplitude histograms with Peak or Mean measurement of eye amplitude, SDI jitter insertion (10Hz to 10MHz, 0.01UI to 128UI), eye amplitude adjustment (+/-10%), risetime, pre-emphasis, signal invert and mute controls operating with either the video pattern generator with pathological overlay as source or a new PRBS Signal Generator (PRBS7, 9, 15, 23, 31), coupled to a new BERT Analyzer tool. In addition, a new Pathological EQ/PLL condition detector with real-time trigger over GPI out is provided all under REST API control.
It’s not just about the Qx series either, with continual development taking place across the entire PHABRIX range. AV Delay Generation and Analysis is a new option available on all our handheld Sx and rackmount Rx instruments, offering an end-to-end solution for the measurement of audio to video differential delay through a broadcast system. The AV Delay Generator produces an adapted EBU Tech 3305 AV Sync ‘clapperboard’ Test Pattern and is compatible with third party AV delay analyzers including the LAWO V_pro8.
And, of course, other well-established areas of our product range can enhance the capabilities of the Qx rasterizer. Together with the handheld Sx TAG, for instance, it offers what we think is an unbeatable solution for hybrid IP/SDI environments. Sx TAG provides support for SMPTE 2110 (-20, -30, -40) encapsulation and decapsulation with ST 2059 PTP. Its new features include SDI to IP and IP to SDI gateways for both ST 2110 and ST 2022-6 as well as the ability to generate an analog reference output slaved to the ST 2059 PTP or 2022-6 IP input.
Test and Measurement tools must reflect the broadcast environments they work in and we see the ability of our range to work effectively in hybrid environments as an important component in making sure the transition from SDI to IP is a smooth one. After all, given the sheer amount of legacy kit still doing sterling work in our industry, day-in and day-out, this hybrid era could be a long one.