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Monitoring multi-format multi-platform workflows: in multi-format and multi-platform broadcast workflows, one of the keys is to find the right signal-monitoring solutions to meet the different broadcast needs brought about by these new environments.


Recently, Wenzhou Television, located in China's South-eastern Zhejiang Province, began a major renovation of its station operations. One of the crucial solutions installed was a new SD digital signal distribution infrastructure that includes Grass Valley (GV) technologies.

In order to handle the recording and playout of culture programmes, Wenzhou TV recently purchased a GV K2 server and storage system and a GeckoFlex 8900 frame comprising several signal conversion modules.

GV says GeckoFlex is a flexible, cost-effective, highly serviceable modular system in a compact frame that handles a complete range of modern broadcast signals. Its dual-reference distribution busses, says the company, can share reference signals within a frame--and broadcasters using the GeckoFlex solution can update its I/O connections to fibre easily. Besides, all GV's HD and most of its other GeckoFlex modules provide SNMP monitoring of signal formats and conditions as well as module operation, identification and status.

GV adds that the equipment purchased by Wenzhou TV will operate alongside a number of existing systems to support six channels, of which five will handle programme recording and playout while the sixth will serve as a redundant backup channel to protect against system failures and keep the station on air around the clock.

Wenzhou TV says it has had very "good experiences in terms of reliability and system performance with GV technologies in the past" and when it began its new renovation project, the engineers at Wenzhou TV "knew that GV was the best choice" for their needs. The broadcaster says "the GV team was more than willing to provide complete solutions for our broadcast TV stations, as well as ... local support and training".

With the GeckoFlex platform, GV says users like Wenzhou TV can include all currently shipping signal-processing modules as well as future modules supporting extended functionality such as HD 3G-SDI and fibre optics. The "unique" 2RU GeckoFlex frame is also backwards-compatible with all existing Gecko modules, while providing a configurable platform for a wider range of signal-processing solutions for the broadcast and teleproduction industries.

Wenzhou TV's recent experience shows how broadcast manufacturers are responding to the technical needs in various areas of the broadcast workflow such as signal processing and monitoring. And GV is not alone in offering flexibility and multi-functionality in its signal-processing and monitoring systems. Harris Broadcast also recently introduced to the Asia-Pacific region a number of solutions in this area.

The newly launched X50 frame synchroniser and converter is said to be a cost-effective, best-in-class, single-channel platform which delivers the "exceptional" quality and functionality of the Harris line of 1RU processors. With the addition of the X50, Harris' award-winning series of 1RU processors, which also includes the X85 platform, now offers a future-proof solution that would meet the requirements from standard to advanced applications.

The X50 synchroniser/converter features up/down/cross-conversion, eight analogue and four AES inputs and outputs, and 16 channels of embedded audio processing. Standard features include colour-correction, closed-caption/teletext capabilities, control and monitoring via a built-in Web server, support for active format description (AFD) and two fully-controllable aspect-ratio converters.

Enabling processing of analogue and digital baseband video and audio via its easy-to-use controls, the X50 supports SD and HD formats, as well as optional 3Gbps 1080p Level A and Level B processing for hybrid TV and production systems. Fibre I/O also is available as a plug-in option.

Harris says the "energy-efficient" X50 processor can easily be incorporated into the workflow of any broadcast environment--from small stations and OB vans to production studios and networks.

Harris also offers its Videotek compact monitor series (CMN-41 and CMN91) for testing signal integrity across all DTV broadcast signal formats up to 3Gbps--in a half-rack, energy-saving design. Each model provides a compact footprint of less than seven-inches depth, two HD/SD-SDI inputs with optional 3Gbps (1080p) capability, one AES input and metering for 16 channels of embedded audio.

For portable requirements, the award-winning Videotek Star handheld test instruments offer the HD-Star HD/ SD-SDI monitor/generator, which is well suited to the demands of cable field technicians and now features auto-format detection of HD or SD inputs; the GEN-Star, which offers HD-SDI/SD-SDI generation, discrete AES audio output, and genlock capabilities through a reference input; and ASIStar, which features transport stream monitoring of DVB-ASI or SMPTE-310M for compliance to ETR-290 priority 1 specifications with error counting.

Another company that offers signal-monitoring solutions is Tektronix, which last year released its MSO70000 Series of mixed signal oscilloscopes (MSOs). Tektronix says that the new MSOs have up to 20 channels of measurement capture (four analogue and 16 digital), with analogue bandwidth ranging from 4GHz-20GHz and 80 picosecond (ps) digital channel-timing resolution.

With the introduction of the MSO70000, Tektronix says it now has a complete portfolio of MSOs on the market. A total of 17 MSO models are offered, ranging from the value-priced portable MSO2 000 to the 2 0GHz MSO72004, the fastest MSO available in its product roster.

Meanwhile, UK-based Eyeheight has unveiled three additions to its range of modular broadcast and post-production equipment. The LE-2nM, LE-2nS and LE-2nU are fully-featured single-card legalisers housed in a rack-mountable or free-standing half-rack-width 1U chassis with external mains power supply.


An integrated, multi-definition RGB and composite legaliser, the LE-2nM is designed for use in post production and quality-assurance. The legaliser conforms to guidelines for legalisation of common TV and film formats. Legalisation, including luminance ring suppression, can be performed in composite, YUV or RGB colour space or in RGB-plus-composite domain. Independent outputs of the legalised signal and legal/indicate monitor-display are provided. A severity display mode is included on monitoring output.

The LE-2nM is supplied as a fully-operational system for control via a Java software panel, which can run on any Java-equipped PC or Mac platform. User controls include three safe-area cursor generators with configurable cursor colour, transparency and cursor type plus specialist functions for text height and aspect-ratio measurement.

Model LE-2nU has essentially the same features plus the capability of 1080p dual-link operation, while model LE-2nS is an SD version.

Thus, in this age of multi-format and multi-platform broadcast environments, a wide variety of signal-processing and monitoring solutions are available to meet any broadcast requirements.
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Title Annotation:MANAGEMENT
Publication:APB Magazine
Date:Jan 1, 2010
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