Font Size: 14 18 24 30 / Show Hotkeys

Test report Sony PCS-XG100

Overview

PCS-XG100 Period: March 2015

SW Version: 1.41.000

Device class

Sony PCS-XG100 is a set-top system, able to implement video conferences in the IP environment with H.323 and SIP protocols. The support of the protocol H.320 (ISDN) is announced for a number of years for the software version 2.0.

Scope of delivery

The basic equipment consists in codec, Full-HD PTZ Camera SRG 120 DH, remote control and two table microphones PCS-A1. Multipoint Conferences up to six or nine participants are possible by means of fee-based software add-ons. The ability of multipoint conferences with up to 16 participants requires the cascading of two devices and an other additional software.

The system has a standard memory component which operates with a resolution of 720p.

Bandwidths

Sony PCS-XG 100 is able to realise calls with a bandwidth up to 16.000 kbps. During the practical tests this theoretic maximum bandwidth was never reached as connection parameter.

Other

The design of all components is very compact and well coordinated. The remote control operates via radio frequencies and does not depend from visual contact.

top of page

Installation

Back view of PCS-XG100Structure

The structure of the device is easy to handle. The good labelling and the clear structure of the ports make working much easier. All necessary cables for basic operations are supplied with the unit. The enclosed Quick Start Guide has an additional supporting effect on the building process. After starting the PCS-XG100 it is ready for use very quickly and the user can make all the necessary adjustments.

Configuration

The device configuration is quick and without any difficulties. The menu is semi-transparent and structured very clearly. Seldom used menu entries are hidden and can be activated if needed. The necessary entries for basic operations can be found quickly.

There is a huge variety of setting options for advanced users which require a considerable familiarisation time for the necessary knowledge of the menu structure.

One, two or three screens can be connected to the device with two HDMI ports and one DVI port. Depending on the number of output units the image is split up for the individual presentation if necessary.

top of page

Test

Operation

Sony PCS-XG100 remote control

The software is designed intuitively and user-friendly. The usual and approved remote control of previous models ensures a comfortable control of the device. In each time it is relevant, a help text is faded in, in order to indicate which coloured button has which function. This is done by means of context-sensitive functions or shortcuts that are explained in the menu navigation.

Mostly, the main menu of the PCS-XG100 is configurable individually and thus adaptable to various user demands. By doing so, the surface can operate in a sort of Kiosk mode (only the shortcuts and the telephone directory are accessible) or by selecting the different menu entries, for instance. The most necessary functions can be quickly activated with the remote control also during a video conference.

More extensive control options are listed only in the manual. For example, the feature for 'Far End Camera Control' is on a coloured shortcut key which is not documented on the remote control itself.

Audio/Video

Often, only the oldest of the ITU standardised basic codec G.711 is utilised although the system commands over modern audio codecs like AAC-LD. The subjective feeling of the speech quality of this basic codec is comparable to a ISDN telephone connection. The manufacturer could improve the connection algorithm so that the modern audio codecs could be utilised more often than before.

The quality of the audio connections was, depending on the utilised codec, good (G.711) to very good (G.722 or AAC-LD). When using G.722 'mode 1' is used, which should not be confused with G.722.1.

In the area of the video channel H.264 was used for encoding the data without exception. A resolution of 720p was used with older single-position systems (e.g. LifeSize Team 220, Polycom Real Presence Desktop). With current devices (e.g. Cisco C40) a resolution of 1080p was used. Only for the Polycom software for the iPad a resolution of w288p (512x288 pixel) was used which represents the quasi standard for the Apple products iPhone and iPad. Nevertheless, the image quality only scored 'satisfactory' in this connection. The quality of all the other video connections was always very good.

Data presentation

Basically, presentation transmittal are always possible as second channel of the video conference. Though, the definite quality fluctuates significantly in relation to the contents and the remote stations.

Single-position system

When connecting with single-position systems (e.g Polycom Real Presence Desktop oder LifeSize Softphone) and the iPad audio dropouts are sometimes possible on the receiving side during the presentation. When utilising LifeSize Softphone 8.1. for MacOS, the resolution in the video channel has to be lowered to under 720p to make H.239 even possible.

The transmission of static contents in this scenarios with good to very good overall quality is suitable for the practical use in both directions.

Because of a utilised frame rate of 7-8 frames it was not possible to have a useful receiving of dynamic contents in the data channel on the Sony XG 100 side. On the other hand, the opposite sides had a good to very good receiving in all variants, without limitation.

Set-top system

The data presentation was implemented in both directions for static as well as dynamic contents on the tested devices of the companies Cisco, Polycom and LifeSize and was always applicable and of high quality. 1080p@30 were realised for H.239.

Camera remote control

The camera remote control was always possible in both directions at the remote stations when the technical requirements were present.

Service DFNVideoConference

The collaboration with the DFN-MCU worked smoothly with very good results. The connection was about 4096 kbps using AAC-LC and H.264. 720p were sent to the MCU while 1080p were received by the MCU.

Gatekeeper

The collaboration with the gatekeeper GNU-GK 2.8 and Cisco MCM worked smoothly.

SIP

The system does not master the Registrarless SIP. As a consequence, it was not possible to establish connections to other devices without prior notification to a SIP Registrar using this dialing method.

URI Dialing

Calls via URI dialing (H.323 Version 5; formerly Annex O) worked unlimited to the DFN-MCU both after a gatekeeper registration and without registration via the syntaxes 'mcu.vc.dfn.de#Conference-ID' or '194.95.240.2#Conference-ID'.

Encryption and Firewall Traversal

The encryption has been realised and applied via AES 128 and in all other connections.

The Firewall-Traversal with H.460.18 and H.460.19 was not supported by the device during the tests.

Other

Standardly, the system is delivered with the Sony Kamera SRG-120DH (review) with a 12x zoom. As alternative, different cameras with a 30x zoom (e.g. SRG-300 HC) are possible, too.

Via a 32 GByte USB stick conferences can be recorded directly on the device in the 720p format, data channel included. Likewise the stick can be used for sicuring the personal configuration settings and for playing in new updates.

top of page

Conclusion

All in all the Sony PCS-XG100 system left a good impression. Modern standards at a high level are utilised in the area of data presentation and video transmission. In the area of audio transmission the connection algorithm should be improved in order to utilise G.711 only in exceptional cases.

Documentation

Manufacturer: Sony

Supported standards H.320, H.323, H.239
Audio coding G.711, G.722, G.728, MPEG-4 AAC-LC (Mono/Stereo)
Video compression H.263, H.263+, H.263++, H.264, H.264 High Profile, MPEG4 Simple Profile
Inputs 1 HDMI-Inputs (Video & Audio)
2 DVI-I-Inputs (Video, PC)
6 Audio-Inputs jack (Microphone)
2 Audio-Inputs chinch, stereo
Outputs

2 HDMI-Outputs (1. and 2. screen / projector)
1 DVI-I-Outputs (3. screen / projector)
1 Audio-Outputs chinch, stereo

Thanks to MaxxVision for providing the test.