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New regulation for photosensitive epilepsy testing devices

If you use a photosensitive epilepsy (PSE) testing device, you might need to update it soon. From the 1st January 2019, all approved PSE testing devices will have to comply with the latest Ofcom definition of a flash sequence.


Conal Siddall

All broadcasters in the UK must comply with Section 2.12 of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code (detailed in Annex 1 of the Ofcom Guidance notes), which provides guidance to UK TV broadcasters and producers on how to minimise the risk of causing PSE events.

After a complaint showed inconsistencies in the interpretation of the Broadcasting Code Harm and Offence section that details the requirements for PSE testing, the International Telecommunications Union have decided to amend the definition. This means that all programmes will have to be tested using PSE algorithms that comply with the latest revision.


What do you need to do?

• If you own a testing device, check the table below to make sure the PSE testing version is approved, then update your device when the version becomes available.

• If you hire devices, contact your supplier beforehand and make sure they confirm their testing devices are compliant. Ask what device they use and check it matches the ones in the table below.

• If you are booking external QC and PSE testing, contact the tester beforehand and make sure they confirm their testing devices are compliant. Ask what device they use and check it matches the ones in the table below.


Which devices are compliant?

Here are the products that the UK broadcasters have agreed competently perform PSE testing, with information about which PSE version you need to be running:

CompanyProduct Version(s)PSE Current VersionPSE BT.1702-1 Version Required from 01/01/19Comments
Cambridge Research SystemsFPA Desktop V3.5 or later
FPA V3.4FPA V3.4 No changeNote: Cambridge Research devices can also be used to test Live (or as Live) programmes using the Legacy Mode
FPA Server V3.0.0 or later
FPA UK Digital V0110 or later
TektronixCerify V7.8.0 or laterFPA V3.4FPA V3.4 No changeCerify uses a licensed Cambridge Research Systems algorithm.
Aurora V3.6 or later with FPA optionFPA V3.4FPA V3.4 No changeAurora uses a licensed Cambridge Research Systems algorithm.
Aurora V5.1.331 or later ProVersionTektronix PSE V5.1FPA V3.4 Update requiredTektronix has ceased support for the Tektronix PSE V5.1 Algorithm. An update to use the FPA V3.4 algorithm is available for all supported Aurora V5.1 customer
InterraBaton V4.2 – V7.3Interra PSE V1.0No longer supported in the UK Update to V7.4 is required
Baton V7.4 or laterInterra PSE V1.0 (Low sensitivity)ITU-R BT.1702 2018 (V1.0)Available now
Interra PSE V1.0 (High sensitivity)
VidcheckVidchecker V4.5 to v6.1Version no longer supportedNo longer supported in the UK Update to V8.0 required
Vidfixer V4.5 to v6.1
Vidapps-PSE V1.0 or later Vidcheck PSE V5.0Vidcheck PSE V5.1 Update requiredAvailable now
Vidchecker V8.0 or later
Vidfixer V8.0 or later
Cel-SoftPSE-Check V2.410 or laterCel-soft PSE V1.5Cel-soft PSE V2.0Available now
Reel-Check Solo V1.410 or later
Reel-Check SE V3.410 or later
VeneraPulsar V4.3 and higherFPA V3.4FPA V3.4 No changePulsar uses a licensed Cambridge Research Systems algorithm
EditShareQScan One
Quales V1.1.0Quales V1.1.0 No changeThe Quales PSE Algorithm was developed and approved after the inconsistency was discovered and therefore compliant when first approved
QScan Pro
QScan Max

Remember, any programme that is tested on a non-approved device will not be accepted by the broadcaster. If the device you use isn’t from this list, you will need to purchase or hire a compliant device to ensure your programmes are not rejected.


Is there enough time to ensure your device is compliant?

The UK broadcasters have been working with the approved testing device manufacturers to ensure that all devices will be ready in time. Some devices are already compliant, and those that aren’t will be updating the PSE test as part of their normal support and maintenance contracts before the deadline. These changes will only affect programs delivered on or after 1st January 2019, so you don’t have to worry about retesting programmes that have been delivered before that date as this particular issue is extremely unlikely to occur and the broadcasters are not concerned that programmes already delivered will cause a complaint.

Both broadcasters and therefore supplied content must comply with the Broadcasting Code and so, as broadcasters are ultimately responsible for ensuring the safety of their audiences, you should contact the relevant broadcaster to find out what products they recommend.


Jigsaw24 customers using Vidchecker

If you use Vidchecker for your PSE testing, you will need to be under support to upgrade to version 8 (due to be released at the end of November) which contains the post-January 2019 PSE test changes. If you’re unsure about whether you have support or need to set up a quote, please get in touch.


If you would like more information about these changes, call 03332 409 210 or email Follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter for the latest industry news.

Got a question on the new regulations?

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