Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tektronix - why they really are STILL the best! pt.1

I often say that customers only ever avoid buying Tek because they can't afford them - nobody ever says "...I need a Hamlet/VideoTek/Leader etc." because it's the best solution, rather it's cheaper than Tek. However - in the last year they've had the WVR/WFM 5000 range which puts pay to even that.

Anyway - last week I went to their Vision '09 day - a kind of pre-NAB training day for users and dealers. They ran four sessions.

Upgrades to WVR/WFM-series 'scopes

  • ANC data - the HD-SDi ancilliary data stream can now encompass user-defined type. So, you could make a new ANC-type called whatever you like and as long as you know the pre-amble values you can have the Session Data page watch for those packets. Very useful if you wanted to individually mark the output of encoders and then check to see which machine made an HD-SDi stream. I suggested it to Root6's Dev team for Content Agent.
  • Dolby information - On the Audio Session tile you can now see the values for the DolbyE metadata - Dialogue Normalisation, Dynamic range and Downmix. You can also check the the guardband figure to see if the embedded DolbyE data is locked to video.
  • Black/Frozen - this is a new parameter in the video QC section - previously you could check for extended periods of silence on the audio but now the instrument can check for frozen or extended periods of black - it's window'able as well so you can check if the lower-third financial ticker (for example) has frozen despite the studio video continuing.
  • Infinite Persistence - you can turn any display into a storage 'scope - useful for checking for those extreme events that occur rarely.
  • AFD - a few more vertical-interval signals (although they're now rolled in with the ANC data) can be detected - widescreen flag, V-chip, etc.
Overall a superb set of features which come for free (just download the updater) - WFMs can do it off the USB socket on the front, WVR machines over the network. This will all be available after NAB.

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