Integrated Video Development Software Overview (VID GEN-510 option 7)

Vid-Soft Block Diagram
Vid-Soft Block Diagram

Video testing and validation remains a complex issue in today's commercial and military world. In this era of military downsizing, a single instrument should be able to:

  • Satisfy all legacy and emerging military video requirements
  • Generate and capture all military video formats (composite, raster, stroke video, DVI, LVDS, HDMI, DisplayPort)
  • Measure timing, amplitude parameters, as well as, automatically validate image content of the captured video
  • View the captured video on either the host computer monitor or a standard SVGA monitor in real-time
  • Automatically generate code with macro playback capability for accelerated TPS development
  • Operate in manual (troubleshooting), embedded (TPS) or standalone (production line) configurations

Commercial video generation and analysis testing solutions often require multiple, sometimes inadequate, test instruments to fulfill the video generation and analysis suite required by most military airframes. Though not as diverse as military applications, commercial requirements face similar difficulties, such as image content validation. Historically, image content analysis depends on operator defined voltage measurements at known time intervals in order to perform a rudimentary evaluation.

There exists a need for a unified hardware and software video toolkit which is a) versatile enough to interface with sophisticated military platforms, b) have the capability to expediently validate the broad format spectrum of military and commercial equipment and c) have the versatility to function as a standalone module or be integrated into an existing test bench environment.

Recognizing this requirement, the VIDGEN-510 is now available with the VID-SOFT software package. The VID-SOFT package is a natural extension to the capabilities of the 510 instrument. VID-SOFT is a comprehensive integrated development environment designed to accelerate test development, minimize or eliminate manual programming, and offer powerful automated and visual tools with which to automatically validate video formats and video image content without resorting to extensive signal analysis.

VID-SOFT is comprised of 4 software tools developed by ATTI:

1) The Video Programming Tool (VPT) provides a graphical interface to the VidGen-510 offering point-and-click programming for accelerated software development, the ability to save programming steps to a macro for external playback via a single function call, and automatic API code generation for the ePVGA and other software modules keyed from entries selected the graphical interface.

Video Programming Tool (VPT)
Video Programming Tool (VPT)

2) Image content validation has been conspicuously missing in automatic test instrumentation despite its importance in identifying video UUT anomalies. Due to the complexity of executing content validation methods, the best industry implementations rely on simple manufacturer-specified test patterns, simple measurements and predominately, manual image inspection. Unfortunately, even simple image analysis can result in false positives. UUT anomalies can produce degraded signals (i.e. rise/fall times, noise, spikes, clipping, ringing, amplitude) or minor image defects that are not easily detected during a simple 'crosshatch image' bench test, but will be visible and flagged by a pilot looking at a complex situational display in the cockpit. Electronic template testing will remove manual image inspection methods.

VSA Image Results With Isolated Failure Depicted
VSA Image Results W/Isolated Failure Depicted

The Virtual Spectrum Analyzer tool (VSA) provides waveform-based analysis and patented automatic image validation of composite, raster/stroke and digital video images. The VSA provides a single step method to easily characterize a known-good signal from one or more UUTs and compare that 'golden' electronic template to a (video) signal under test for completely automated signal verification encompassing voltage, timing and image content criteria resulting in a pass or fail status. In addition, the VSA will reconstruct the image under test and highlight the portion of the image that is not in compliance to assist with fault isolation of the underlying subsystem. The VSA removes manual image inspection methods for all video signals, but will also excel with any complex electronic waveform.

Video Redisplay Tool (VRT)
Video Redisplay Tool (VRT)

3) The Video Redisplay Tool (VRT) provides software-based video image redisplay on the host computer's monitor capable of viewing composite video, raster video, stroke video formats for operator-in-the-loop testing.

4) The Video Test Sequencer (VTS) provides a standalone application to develop and execute user-developed test macros and sequences developed with the VPT and compare measurement results to established limits. The VTS may be invoked externally for integration into any software environment. Together, the VIDGEN-510 instrument and the VID-SOFT software provide unique capabilities within a single slot VXI card that are not matched by any commercial instrument vendor. As a video instrument, the 510 is: a) Capable of composite, raster, stroke, parallel digital, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort and HD-SDI video generation, acquisition and image redisplay. b) Capable of automatically defining and performing 'electronic template' video testing. c) Designed to interface with diverse discrete signals from military platforms. d) A suitable candidate for all new and legacy military testers.