Advanced Television

Rohde & Schwarz shows benefits of R&D investment

April 15, 2020

“Following our acquisition of Pixel Power in late 2018, we have worked hard at integrating the company within the Rohde & Schwarz environment. Pixel Power extends our core capabilities in a number of areas, especially channel playout and product virtualisation,” stated Cornelius Heinemann, Executive Vice President, Broadcast and Media at Rohde & Schwarz. “This year, NAB [would have seen] a single unified exhibit, where Pixel Power products are showcased alongside R&S products to offer a range of advanced workflow solutions across various broadcast media applications.”

A key development at NAB woudl have been Next Gen TV powered by ATSC 3.0, which is being launched across North America. In Las Vegas, Rohde & Schwarz will showcase its THU9evo and TMU9evo: the only transmitters currently deployed in operational ATSC 3.0 networks in the world with more than 60 transmitters installed in South Korea. Demonstrating Rohde & Schwarz’s forward-thinking R&D strategy, those transmitters deployed throughout the US during the Repack initiative can be easily upgraded to ATSC 3.0 whenever required.

Redefining mobile TV with 5G Broadcast 

A strong theme for Rohde & Schwarz at NAB would have been its investment strategy in new product innovation which includes close co-operation with like-minded third-party organisations. An illustration of this approach is in the area of 5G Broadcast. In June 2017, Rohde & Schwarz joined the pioneering research project – 5G Today – as a partner. Under the leadership of Germany’s Institute for Broadcast Technology (IRT), and in co-operation with antenna manufacturer, Kathrein, Rohde & Schwarz is evaluating broad-area TV transmission using the latest technologies. Also, 5G TODAY is supported by mobile network operator, Telefonica O2, and the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation (BR).

At NAB, Rohde & Schwarz would havem for the first time in North America, exhibited the world’s first complete 5G Broadcast solution, which consists of the core network functionality provided by the new R&S BSCC broadcast service and control center and R&S Tx9 transmitters, which support FeMBMS. This all-in-one solution covers all roles from the content provider to the consumer and is fully compliant with 3GPP Release 14 and has the upcoming 3GPP Release 16 in focus as well. It enables broadcasters to contribute their valuable assets for efficient distribution of high-quality video to the future 5G ecosystem.

Harnessing the power of software-based workflows

Rohde & Schwarz woudl have also demonstrated how its strategic R&D investment is speeding its evolution from a hardware-centric company to one that is also capable of exploiting the latest developments in software-based broadcast technologies. It will showcase a fully cloud-based AV monitoring-as-a-service solution alongside its market leading on-premise PRISMON IP-Multiviewers.

The real power of the Rohde & Schwarz monitoring offering comes from the combination of virtualized and on-premise systems, enabling efficient monitoring of a much larger data network both inside and outside the broadcast production centre. In combination with the widely used on-premise R&S PRISMON solution, using, analysis data from physical and virtual sensors can be displayed on a single dashboard. End-to-end analyses quickly and easily reveal errors such as deterioration of video or audio quality or poor CDN performance as a cause of churn – with just one tool.

“In today’s broadcast and media markets this dual capability is rare,” comments Hannes Strobel, Vice President Media Technologies at Rohde & Schwarz. “To meet this challenge requires two different types of skillset – low latency signal processing in software and mastering cloud architectures. At Rohde & Schwarz, we have built our reputation over many decades on our hardware engineering capabilities. But also, PRISMON is a software-based product that is represents 10 year’s evolution. During this time, we have developed excellent software development skillsets and these are valuable when we address the needs of virtualised workflows.

With these various skillsets, we can advise customers: providing support throughout the signal processing chain and also on how the virtualized infrastructure is being set up. In order to maximise both latency and data throughput and stability, we can optimize data processing throughput in a virtualised framework,“ states Strobel. “The critical question is how does a broadcaster tame that asynchronous IT/IP world in ways that enable viewers to consume AV content in manner they are familiar and happy with? As a result of Rohde & Schwarz’s long-term strategic investment in research & development we are able to make a real difference in this area.“

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