Introducing the HeadSpin Audio-Visual Platform

March 9, 2021
 by 
Amena Siddiqi

A number of audio-visual testing scenarios present unique challenges.

HeadSpin’s new patent-pending audio-visual platform (AV Platform) extends our existing test capabilities to applications requiring special audio-visual testing such as:

  • Media and entertainment apps
  • Voice assistants and audio
  • Smart TVs
  • Digital media players
  • Video calling and communication apps
  • Camera apps
  • and more

The HeadSpin AV Platform lets your global team coordinate on a single platform to test, automate, and measure rich media and voice applications.

One Platform for All Your Media Testing

The AV Platform accelerates your existing processes by seamless integrating with in-house and third-party frameworks and tools.

With the HeadSpin AV Platform you can easily test the physical camera and microphone on any device, run media tests in parallel, and capture any screen or sound output from the device.

The AV Platform is fully integrated into the HeadSpin user interface, APIs, and test automation capabilities, and is compatible with automation frameworks for media and other devices.

Like the HeadSpin Appliance, the AV Platform provides a centralized device lab for distributed test teams.

Easily run and record tests for media devices, such as smart TVs. You can optionally use the TV remote control app to execute commands on the set top box.
Playback media tests and analyze them with HeadSpin’s advanced video and audio analysis capabilities.

Physical Characteristics

The AV Platform is a rackmount enclosure for capturing audio and video from any device placed inside the box. It is access controlled to protect devices and sensitive information.

An adjustable rail mounting system allows device cameras and screens to be aligned depending on the application. Up to 4 iOS or Android devices and/or 2 HDMI monitors are supported. It can also be equipped to support Bluetooth audio using the optional HSBT audio interface.

The rail system in the AV Platform allows devices to be adjusted in three dimensions.

All fasteners for devices are compatible with most standard photography equipment and commercial device holders.

The front panel includes space for up to 2 HDMI ports for monitors, up to 4 USB B ports for devices, and C14 AC power. Ports can be customized per application.

Rack-mounting the AV Platform

The sound and light isolation in the AV Platform allows it to be racked densely.

The AV Platform is just under 8U tall. Each rack of AV platform connects to an external rack-mounted hosts module which provides connectivity to HeadSpin platform. A standard rack can hold 5 AV Platforms in addition to the rack mounted hosts module.

Example Configurations

Everything within the box is adjustable and many different configurations can be accommodated. Below are a few examples of configurations we have implemented in our lab.

1. Mobile Device Testing with Full AV Support

This would be a configuration you would want to use if you’re testing something like SnapChat and you want to test front and rear cameras with simulated input images (e.g., people’s faces with filters).

Placement: One device under test is placed in the fixed position in the center. Two tablets are placed on the sliding carriages.

Use Cases:

  • Both front and rear cameras of the center device under test are aligned with the tablet screens, allowing mock camera input.
  • A tablet camera can capture the screen of the center device under test for applications such as fair use DRM.
  • The tablets can record and playback audio to/from the center device under test.
  • Screen capture and audio input/output can be seamlessly integrated in the capture sessions for the device under test.

2. Mobile Device Testing with Screen Capture and Audio

This is the recommended configuration for testing DRM-protected content, such as Netflix performance.

Placement: The device under test and a supporting device are placed on the adjustable carriages.

Use Cases:

  • The supporting device camera can capture the screen of the device under test for applications such as fair use DRM.
  • The supporting device can record and playback audio to/from the device under test.
  • Screen capture and audio input/output can be seamlessly integrated in the capture sessions for the device under test.

3. Set Top Box Testing

In order to use the AV Platform to test a Roku device, you would hook it up to the HDMI screen within the enclosure, and use a second phone using the Roku remote control app to control it.

Placement: A set top box is installed in the enclosure and attached to the adjustable carriage at one end. The supporting device is placed on a carriage at the other end for audio visual screen capture. Optionally a second device can be placed behind the capturing device to support a set top box remote control app.

Use Cases:

  • The supporting device camera can capture the HDMI screen for applications such as fair use DRM.
  • The supporting device can record and playback audio from the screen.

4. Smart Speaker Testing

This would be the setup for testing a smart speaker such as an Amazon Echo Dot or Facebook Portal.

Placement: A smart speaker is installed in the enclosure and attached to the adjustable carriage at one end. A supporting device is placed on a carriage at the other end for audio visual playback and capture.

Use Cases:

  • The supporting device can record and playback audio from the smart speaker device.
  • The supporting device camera can be used to observe the physical state of the device, e.g. LEDs or other output.

Conclusion

HeadSpin’s patent-pending AV Platform technology enables true “black box” testing by capturing the user’s experience on real media devices, including actual screen and audio output. As such, it can be used to test a variety of use cases including OTT/media, livestreaming, accessibility, voice activation, video calling and communication apps, camera apps, and voice assistants.

With HeadSpin’s AV Platform, you can ensure:

  • Apps work as expected on specific devices, including media devices
  • Speaker and microphone function properly on the devices themselves
  • High-quality audio and video performance
  • Compatibility across a range of apps, OSes, devices, and carrier networks