Hitomi MatchBox put to the test by TVN during recent UEFA Champions League Final

Broadcast alignment technology specialist Hitomi worked closely with German-based TVN Mobile Production GmbH to ensure that the audio and video of UEFA Champions League Final in Kiev was aligned precisely and scientifically in a matter of seconds.

TVN first met with Hitomi at the IBC trade show in September 2017. A UHD solution was required to check the alignment of audio and video feeds for their live sporting events. All major television broadcasters in Germany already have equipment to test the alignment of 1080i signals; however, with the start of 3G and UHD a new solution which was backwards-compatible with the existing hardware was required. Enter Hitomi MatchBox, which supports all video formats from SD to UHD and can continue to function with their existing measurement solution.  

Hitomi’s MatchBox is a hardware and software solution housed in a 1RU frame. It is a comprehensive measurement system of audio and video timing. It includes text to speech synthesis, user-friendly line identification system, inter-quadrant timing measurements to assist with lining up the 4K picture, and a host of other invaluable features.

Christoph Moll, technical manager, Outside Broadcast for TVN, commented: “The device is an integral part of our UHD vehicles. Due to the many conversions and outputs of various formats in and around the OB van, runtimes are created that we can measure perfectly with the Matchbox – thus we very quickly and easily ensure that both the internal and the outgoing signal flow between video and audio are always in sync. Another advantage of the Matchbox is the backwards compatibility to the existing technology. A downlink through an SNG, which receives a signal from one of our customers on site, can be measured with the generators still used by our customers in our OB van with our Matchbox. Further advantages of MatchBox are the user-friendly and clear user interface, extended labelling options of the fast and uncomplicated video format change make the measurements even faster and easier. Matchbox offers the possibility to measure both embedded and AES audio; an additional plus point we found was the independent measurement of the coherence of Dolby E signals – a Dolby Encoder and Decoder is already integrated in the Matchbox, so that without external hardware an immediate check of the audio synchronicity in the Dolby E is possible. The Matchbox reader not only offers an informative web interface; the loop-through of all measured signals can also be output to the matrix in the OB van or a monitor with the measurement results inserted.”

TVN produced the Champions League Final for UEFA this year in Kiev, where their Matchbox celebrated its first major appearance in the course of cabling for all connected broadcasters on the TV Compound. Two TVN OB vans were used for the main feed; a further OB van was added for the German broadcaster ZDF. The mixture of feeds in HD, 3G & UHD formats enabled Matchbox not only to measure the synchronicity of the signals to each other, but also between OB vans.

TVN purchased two MatchBox systems this year, which have been installed into their UHD OB vans, TVN-Ü2 and TVN-Ü5. The second phase installations will commence at the beginning of 2019 for the launch of TVN’s new flagship OB truck, Ü6. 

Steve Pritchard, lead engineer of Hitomi, said that he “is delighted that we have been able to assist TVN with the project. It is extremely rewarding to think that our product has been used to line up the signal which was transmitted to technical operation centres for more than 200 broadcasters worldwide. We are pleased to continue working closely with TVN and develop our products based around their needs.”

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