As CES marks half a century of bringing innovation to the world, there were over 3800 vendors from 150 countries and 170000 attendees. Many conceptual products shown in the past have become actual or even mass production products this year. Out of all the products exhibited “VR” related products has been the focus of attention, this can be seen in the 79% increase for related products. Autonomous vehicles & vehicle related technology have also been the focus of this year, with well over 200 thousand Square foot of exhibition space. Allion is here to provide first hand coverage for all you tech fans out there.
“In 2010, in fall, at sunset, we came to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The sky was slightly dark. The evening sky was decorated with projection lamps. It’s so magnificent. When we saw a flock of birds flying around the domes of buildings, my friends and I took out our camera to capture the beautiful scene of the moment. However, no matter how we adjusted the camera or took pictures from different perspectives, the picture always seemed unnatural and was unable to simulate the image that human eyes perceived” (Fig. 1).
The above description is a travel review written by Rick Li, Senior Technical Manager of Allion Labs, Inc. We believe that our readers have experienced similar situations. In addition to photos, there are also big differences between the images on TV and real life. For example, in low lighting conditions, the screen is too dark, while in bright lighting, it is too white. Why does this difference occur?
To verify that TV RF signals could function well anyplace and anywhere, TV related companies frequently conduct field tests over the world, equipped with their own products and equipment by consuming much time and money. Aiming to help partners resolve difficulties of field test, the engineering service expert, Allion Labs started to consolidate and update streaming data periodically over the world several years ago. Upon customer’s requests and test requirements, Allion Labs team members would record TV signals in different kinds of environments or several countries and send the purchased TV products back from locals. The collected signal data can help customers test timely signals, process product verification, detect errors, and save time and cost.
Before every single field test trip, Allion labs team members do put much efforts into the preparation, such as map, GPS setting, route plan, and the working places for recording and so on. Allion Labs perfectly understands the signal integrity and its effectiveness will vary with venues and environments surrounded by buildings. Signal noise interference usually occurs in a big city and strong signal is always being detected closer to TV signal towers. Signal inconsistence could be easily found in the suburbs. Besides, concerning a variety of recording places and a full-ranged TV streaming data, Allion Labs would conduct indoor cable TV recording through cooperating with local contact windows. It takes at least one month to arrange, discuss and simulate tests to make a trip happen.
Real challenges always come after the departure, particularly for those unfamiliar countries. Passing through the customs is the first challenge. In some developing countries, the customs would be picky or extort our members intentionally. Occasionally, it took certain tax fee to allow testing equipment brought in those countries. During the field test, it’s easy to encounter interrogation by the police due the specialty of equipment. In addition, recording equipment requires lots of power to function. To purchase bulky power suppliers or the batteries is a normal case. Meanwhile, for comparing test results, our team members have to deliver TV products with local specifications back to Allion Labs for customer reference. Time limitation, language barriers, transportation arrangement, and product selection will affect the schedule. A field test trip seems more difficult comparing with the convenience of Taiwan or the developed countries.
We always do the best to plan a trip, and understand the local situation and culture. Under any unfamiliar condition, emergency makes our members out of blue. Asians are sometimes the targets for bandits or gangsters. A field test is full of tasks and challenges.
Illustration One：Terrestrials of Global Digital TV Signals
Allion Labs would analysis and review the integrity of data, classify patterns and parameters in sequence, and do the filing. TV signals will vary by time and next generation techniques will be born anytime. For instance, for embracing the coming of 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and stimulating buying power of TV products with 4K signals, Japanese government is said to implant 4K TV signal step by step, starting from satellite, and then widely spread in digital broadcast. It is expected to broadcast real-time FIFA World Cup Brazil. For assuring the product specifications to fill in the physical environments, 4k related developers need to synchronize TV signal without time difference.
A full range of TV streaming data is part of Allion Labs assets and services which we will keep update for customers on regular basis. The data has incorporated signals of North America, Middle and South America, Europe, Japan and China; meanwhile, Allion Labs is also expanding signal territories of the other countries. Our own central signal generator conducts simulating and testing signals for TV manufacturers. The generator is able to send global broadcast signals, standard analog and digital images, in order to simulate the function of tested products in specific environments. The collected signals in Allion Lab are: DVB-T2/DVB-T/DVB-C, ATSC/SCTE, ISDB-T, DTMB- NTSC, SECAM, PAL, PAL/SECAM, ATSC-MH and CMMB. In our signal testing lab, Allion Labs could proceed different local tests on products, and simulate user scenarios.
As a professional of engineering validation and consulting, Allion Labs can provide the complete global streaming data, and conduct any random test of stability, compatibility and energy management of smart TV and Energy Star America Plan. In addition, Allion Labs’ one-stop testing and validation services can save time and money for each customer. We could provide scenario stimulation based on User Experience (UX) and offer competitive analysis. Based on these, customers are able to improve quality platforms, enhance product usability and get Allion Labs’ best support in each development stage.
In our daily life, many different techniques are applied on countless electronic products to render its function. If those techniques are self-developed by each individual company, it is highly possible to limit the industry’s evolvement and the technique’s further advancement. To avoid the hydra-headed situation, the concept of“technology standardization”is thus given birth to universalize popular technologies in the market. The purpose of technology standardization is to formulate a usable technology to become the applicable standard for all vendors to adopt and use. Therefore it can not only make a technology to be widely adopted, but also to avoid industrial monopoly on particular technology to pursue one’s own commercial interests.
Although most of the TV products are delicately designed to receive digital and analogsignals, the error rate can still appeared to be high when put the TV into actual test atdifferent countries and regions. For example, we put the same TV in Germany and Spain that the TV works fine in Germany but is having EPG issue in Spain. This is most likely caused by the variation of the broadcasting system in each country. Different carriers use different stream formats and often lead to different results. All these issues can bring TV manufacturers extra challenges in sustaining the claim of product quality. Although field test may be able to eliminate potential error, but it is rather time and cost consuming to most of manufacturers. One big task for the TV makers is to plan a feasible and effective way to validate the RF signal from each and every country for their product.