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Friday, June 14, 2013

Comparison: SDI vs analog component

With the announcement of TriCaster 40 v2 and it's new features a lot of people are looking at it with renewed interest but are hesitant because of the lack of SDI inputs. So I thought I'd do a little comparison between the two. I expected to see a little more noise in the analog signal but not much other difference.

Methodology: 

  • Played NewTek's standard demo clips (mov format) in a DDR on the TriCaster 8000.
  • Output both SDI and component analog signals at 1080i.
  • Ran those two signals into inputs on the same TC8000
  • Used an M/E to setup a split screen.
  • Recorded the main out, the SDI input, the component input and the split screen from the m/e

This way I could compare everything with exactly the same number of compression cycles.

Results:

Any difference in noise in the images is completely overwhelmed by the mpeg compression artifacts.
My particular TriCaster's analog out has slightly more contrast than the SDI. I pretty much fixed it with a couple of clicks in the proc-amp.

Conclusion:

Don't sweat the SDI/component difference for quality reasons. To my eye the analog picture didn't look worse than the SDI just a little different. I suspect you'd actually see more of a difference between any two individual cameras then I was seeing between analog and digital.

I could detect a tiny bit of noise using static test signals but not with real world video. If you were coming in from a good quality camera and looking at the uncompressed video you might be able to see the difference but by the time it's compressed using even a very high quality codec you are going to be hard pressed to notice a difference.

See for yourself:
update: download a full res video sample

The first image is enlarged 200% the video was not proc-amped at all in these images.



Just so you know the SDI is on the left

1 comment:

Manchester said...

Thanks for taking the time to do the test. Got to admit the TC40 is looking better all the time. For longer (simpler) cable runs BMDs mini converters are cheap enough.

I'm in the market for something to do multicam productions (live and possibly streamed). Still a big price jump from BMD TVS and TC40 - would like to see a head-to-head review of the two.