Tektronix Expands Line of Waveform Monitors and Rasterizers

Tektronix has expanded its award-winning line of waveform monitors and rasterizers with its new WFM and WVR5250 models, the only products in their respective classes to offer HDMI-HDCP inputs that enable broadcasters and video service providers (VSP) to directly monitor the quality of the video and audio output of set-top boxes (STB) and Blu-ray players for the first time.  This unique capability makes the WFM/WVR5250 the most comprehensive, compact and portable video and audio test tools available for acquisition, post production and compliance monitoring.

Before the WFM/WVR5250 and its HDMI-HDCP inputs, there was no way for broadcasters, and VSPs to monitor the video signal quality output from STBs, Blu-ray players and other consumer devices with HDMI outputs.  The majority of video and audio content provided through the HDMI connector on consumer devices such as STBs and Blu-ray players is encrypted using HDCP for copy protection and only certified HDCP compliant devices can provide the necessary decoding. The WFM/WVR5250 is HDCP compliant allowing users to have direct access to the data they need to assess the quality of the signal output by any consumer device that uses HDMI interfaces.  This is essential for VSPs who are trying to objectively measure the customer Quality of Experience and compliance to broadcast and regulatory standards as seen by their customers

In addition to checking the output of their STBs, cable operators and other VSPs can use the HDMI-HDCP connectivity of the WFM/WVR5250 to test new STB firmware releases in the lab and diagnose interoperability issues. This eliminates the need for dedicated HDMI protocol analyzers. VSPs can also conduct audio loudness “quick checks” in headends or hub sites which is important for complying with the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act and for ensuring audio quality during live sporting events and other programming.

“As the only waveform monitors and rasterizers with HDMI-HDCP inputs, our new WFM/WVR5250 models are truly state-of-the-art, setting a new standard for the industry,” said Eben Jenkins, general manager, Video Product Line, Tektronix. “Adding the flexibility to monitor set-top boxes’ outputs with CALM Act compliance ‘quick checks’ combined with monitoring Blu-ray players video and audio outputs exemplifies our commitment to innovation and continued dedication to helping our customers stay at the forefront of their industries.”

Tektronix is an active member to the HDMI Forum Manufacturers Organization which is responsible for the development of HDMI Compliance Testing Specifications.

The company has also announced that its Cerify File-Based QC solution has been certified by Netflix, making it easier for content suppliers to deliver video for streaming.

There continues to be an explosion in the amount of video content that is being provided to Video Service Providers. With hundreds of potential content suppliers, Video Service Providers are struggling to perform quality control on the incoming content with the wide variability of file formats, codec types, potential syntax errors and organizational variability of quality metrics. This complexity in the digital supply chain increases the amount of time it takes to standardize the content to the VSPs’ ingest quality standards before being ready for the content prep workflow. In the absence of industry wide content delivery specifications, individual VSPs are beginning to define their own content delivery specification for content suppliers.

Having Cerify certified by Netflix can help ensure that content suppliers are in compliance to the required content delivery specification. Content suppliers will benefit from the reduced time and expense of rejected content and ensure that Netflix can ingest content of a consistent quality.

“Tektronix’s Cerify plays a significant role in the digital supply chains of our content and services partners,” said Christopher Fetner, director of content partner operations at Netflix. “We’re excited to have collaborated with Tektronix to influence the developments in Cerify that ensures that their users will have greater confidence when delivering content to Netflix.”

In order to support Netflix, Tektronix has added new content types, test methods and profiles to their automated content verification system. Cerify is a fully automated system for verifying/checking file-based content prior to transmission or use. Solutions range from windows-based PC standalone workstations to enterprise-wide solutions that interface to 3rd party automation or asset management systems.

“Cerify ensures content readiness in workflows that handle content for different types of playout. Cerify is the only enterprise-ready, scalable QC solution suitable for various stages of workflow like ingest, transcode and archiving,” said Eben Jenkins, general manager, Video Product Line at Tektronix. “We expect that the new Netflix influenced changes to Cerify will help our current and future content supplier customers address the needs of delivering consistent high quality assets to Netflix.”

At NAB2013, visit Tektronix and Netflix in booth N609 to get a demo of the result of their collaboration. Bring your content to the Tektronix booth where Tektronix and Netflix Content Engineers will be on hand to demonstrate how Cerify can test your content to ensure compliance to the Netflix delivery specification.

Lastly, Tektronix is demonstrating how its latest solutions address the growing video content monitoring challenges that broadcasters face here at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2013. 

As new technologies emerge and the way viewers receive and watch programming changes, content quality must be closely monitored in production, post production and during broadcasting. To help meet this demand, Tektronix is showcasing its solutions under the theme “Enabling Quality Content from Production to Distribution & Delivery,” at this year’s show. Highlights include the latest advances in rasterizers optimized for color grading, file-based video quality control and video network monitoring.  NAB attendees can see demonstrations of the latest Tektronix products and meet with the company’s technology and product experts throughout the show.

New WFM/WVR5250 Industry’s First Waveform Monitor with HDMI/HDCP Connection
The new WFM and WVR5250 are the only products in their respective classes to offer HDMI-HDCP inputs that enable broadcasters and video service providers (VSP) to directly monitor the quality of the video and audio output of set-top boxes (STB) and Blu-ray players for the first time.  Before the WFM/WVR5250 and its High Definition Multimedia Interface – High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDMI-HDCP) inputs, there was no way for broadcasters and VSPs to monitor the video signal quality output from STBs, Blu-ray players and other consumer devices with HDMI outputs. This unique capability makes the WFM/WVR5250 the most comprehensive, compact and portable video and audio test tools available for acquisition, post production and compliance monitoring. Furthermore, the ability to decrypt the content through HDMI-HDCP is essential for VSPs to objectively measure their viewers’ quality of experience (QoE) and compliance with broadcast and regulatory standards as seen by their customers through HDMI interconnects on large LCD or plasma displays.

New PQA600A Offers Industry’s First Picture Quality Analysis on HDCP Encrypted Content
Tektronix’ new PQA600A enables video equipment manufacturers and service providers to perform comprehensive, repeatable picture quality analysis and a direct comparison with competitors’ units to verify video quality performance differences.  The PQA600A is the industry’s first picture quality analysis tool with an HDMI-HDCP interface.  This enables engineers to directly evaluate the picture quality of the video stream outputs through an HDMI interface and video engineers can effectively model how equipment changes will impact picture quality through the network, across their headend facilities to the STB. In addition, having HDMI-HDCP support included in the PQA600A enables engineers to select a STB that would maximize the end viewer’s quality of experience at home.

New architecture transforms Cerify into Industry’s Most Reliable Content QC and Correction Solution Along With Workflow Optimization Benefits
Today’s file-based workflows face tremendous pressures from the ever-growing volume, variety and complexity of content.  In order to be able to handle such increasing content volumes, operators are deploying more and more resilient workflow solutions that are capable of operating 24×365.  To address this need, Tektronix has developed a High Availability architecture into its Cerify Quality Control & Correction software solution.  This new architecture enables the Cerify solution to operate 24×365 – ensuring continual readiness of QC services in the workflow even in the event of hardware failures.

In addition, Tektronix is responding to customer needs in reducing the amount of time content spends in the workflow – from the ingest point to the playout/archive/delivery point.  Tektronix has teamed with Dolby to incorporate the proven audio loudness correction technology of its Dolby DP600® into Cerify, which reduces workflow time and complexity within the workflow and lowers VSPs’ CapEx costs.  With this new functionality, Cerify can ensure audio content compliance to regulatory standards such as the U.S. CALM Act’s stipulated A/85 standards or the EBU R128 audio loudness standards by automatically correcting and remultiplexing the audio in the original file. 

Another significant area of development in the industry has been the ubiquitous nature of Over The Top Video (OTT) delivery services.  These services have gained significant QoE improvements by deploying Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) streaming technologies to overcome the hurdles of delivering video over the Internet’s best-effort delivery characteristics.  In order to serve customers deploying video content over such ABR/OTT delivery mechanisms, Tektronix has developed Apple HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) and Microsoft HTTP Smooth Streaming (HSS) test support within Cerify.  With this new functionality, operators can ensure that their ABR transcoded content is ready for HLS and/or HSS delivery.

Sentry for Network-Wide Video Quality Monitoring to 10G
Only Tektronix’ Sentry can comprehensively perform advanced quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) monitoring on 3Gpbs of programming flowing through service providers’ 10Gigabit networks. These unprecedented capabilities of Sentry enable VSPs to identify where service-affecting video and audio errors are occurring anywhere within their networks.  This can dramatically speed up the time to diagnose and repair these issues, which limits the impact on viewers’ QoE.

Sentry Edge II for QAM Access Monitoring
A key addition to the Sentry family is the new Sentry Edge II, which has advanced post QAM RF monitoring performance that extends monitoring to all QAM access points. Sentry Edge II detects RF modulation and Transport Stream errors at the hub, headend or wherever QAM is used. VSPs now have access to the information needed to proactively monitor RF, before issues affect subscribers.  Comprehensive and industry-leading high-quality RF measurements make it easier and faster to pinpoint issues.  High quality MER measurements up to 41dB allow providers to detect signal quality degradation sooner, so they can take action before this issue impacts the subscriber viewing experience. Sentry Edge II offers more tuners per unit than competing products, lowering the cost of edge monitoring.  Providers can choose from two high-density models—4 or 8 tuners—both designed to minimize rack space and power costs. 

New SPG8000 Addresses Broadcasters Reference Generator Requirements
The synchronization requirements of modern production, post production and broadcast facilities have grown as they have to handle multiple video formats, with multi-channel audio and ancillary data and be accomplished with the highest reliability possible. The new SPG8000 Master Sync/Master Clock Reference Generator represents a new class of reference generator that combines Tektronix’ industry-leading sync pulse generator (SPG) and master clock reference generator capabilities.  The fully-featured SPG8000 comes standard with individually timeable black burst (with VITC support) and HDTV tri-level sync outputs, linear time code (LTC) outputs and network time protocol (NTP) server support –  all of the timing and synchronizing signals required in a video broadcast or production facility.

The SPG8000 incorporates several key features, including Tektronix’ Stay Genlock capability, which provides a unique genlock mode that minimizes disruption to devices synchronized to the SPG8000 reference signals and eliminates synchronization shock. Complete with hot-swappable redundant power supplies, remote monitoring and an easy to navigate Web-based interface, the SPG8000 provides critical timing and synchronization signals for modern broadcast, production (including mobile trucks and OB vans) and post-production facilities by offering sync signals, test signals and ANC data generation capabilities.

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