Our new (previously owned) analog signal generator arrived tonight (a Promax GV-698/11):
[lightbox title=”New analog signal generator” href=”../../blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/CIMG0205.jpg”][/lightbox]
Now, you might say “analog is dead” or “who cares about analog now that television has gone digital?” And the answer would seem to be “lots of people”. The reality is that as much as we like to talk about the advances in ATSC, ClearQAM, and the DVB variants, a large number of people out there still have analog and expect it to work. In the United States, the problem is especially evident since there are very few ways to access cable television without a settop box, meaning those people who do not wish to have an HD-PVR probably have a cable box connected to a tuner via an analog output.
Having a generator will make it easier to do testing of international standards (something that we do quite a bit of nowadays), and this generator in particular supports a variety of audio standards as well as teletext, meaning we can be confident that those functions will work even when we do not have access to a local signal source.
And finally, I personally have been quite dissatisfied with the general quality of a number of the different tuners and video decoders that I have worked with under Linux. Having a well calibrated signal source with a variety of patterns will allow me to improve the general picture quality for those devices. Whether that means making sure the registers for hue/saturation/contrast are properly programming, or being able to spot problems with formatting, resolution, or geometry.
It’s really easy to look at a TV picture and say “that doesn’t look right”. But figuring out what is actually wrong about the picture and what needs to be tweaked to fix it requires the right tools.