The basis of the CAI benchmarking initiative is to lay down minimum standards for the technical performance of products based on the specific technical parameters for satisfactory broadcast reception. It is not intended to address general quality issues, such as the standard of construction, durability etc., these factors are left to individual manufacturer warranty descriptions.
This CAI benchmarking schemes at the moment cover aerials and coaxial cables only. As yet they do not cover the complete aerial installation, or installation practice. The CAI has mandatory Codes of Practice covering these areas that in turn are recognised by broadcasters and government as standard good practice. Conformance to the minimum standards is determined by independent measurements against a technical performance specification.
These standards have been compiled by industry wide committees who monitor the implementation of the schemes through the CAI assessment process and agree any necessary changes to the detailed procedures, test methods and specifications.
The scheme allows the measurements to be carried out by any test house that is able to demonstrate that it meets the required standards of measurement accuracy detailed in the technical standards for each benchmark. Applicants and holders of CAI benchmark certification are bound by legal binding contracts that secure adherence to all aspects of the benchmark certification.
The use of the 'mark' is authorised for specific products by the CAI, once the 'pass' certificate and supporting documentation has been issued by the test house – or in the case of aerials – by the CAI. Testing of random samples sold to the trade or in the open market ensures ongoing conformity.
The Benchmarking Schemes are at the moment purely a voluntary arrangement within the industry. They are widely adopted by broadcasters and government departments following the success of the CAI Cable Benchmarking Scheme.
Reference may be made to specific types of benchmarked products in manufacturers literature, purchasers' requirement specifications or supply contracts.
Benchmarked products should always be used in conjunction with good installation practice as laid down by the CAI Codes of Practice and the recommendations in DTG R Books 2 and 5. (Link http://www.dtg.org.uk/).
Benchmarked Aerials are categorised into 6 standards and the standard achieved in the certification is marked in the CAI benchmark logo found on the product packaging.
Standard 1 - Should provide acceptable DTT reception for homes on the edges of coverage areas.
Standard 2 - This is an intermediate level suitable for use across the whole of a DTT coverage area.
Standard 3 - This is minimum attainment level for primary service coverage areas.
Standard 4 - Is a standard for a specific design of aerial where tighter narrow beamwidth is needed along with wideband performance.
Standard F - Is the new LTE standard for 'Fringe' aerial reception.
Standard S - Is the new LTE standard for 'Standard' aerial reception.
If you are an aerial manufacturer and have an aerial that you would like to get benchmarked then the Guidelines on Process for Product Testing AERIAL document will detail all that you need to know.
The current list of aerials on the aerial benchmark scheme can be downloaded here.
The following documents are available from the CAI Download section:
- Guidelines for the use of benchmarked aerials
This scheme lays down minimum standards for the technical performance of coaxial cable based on the specific requirements for satisfactory broadcast TV and radio reception both terrestrially and via satellite. Born from the need for higher screening capabilities to facilitate the robust relay of digital signals, the standard was refined by the CAI from original parameters laid down by BSkyB during Sky’s transition to digital only satellite broadcasting.
There are currently 7 cable benchmarks:
- Type Twin 065 - Benchmark Specification downloadable here
- Type 100 - Benchmark Specification downloadable here
- Type 125 - Benchmark Specification downloadable here
- Type 165 - Benchmark Specification downloadable here
- Type RG6-CAI-SDU - Benchmark Specification
- Type 100 5 Core - Benchmark Specification downloadable here
- Type Twin 100 - Benchmark Specification downloadable here
If you are a cable manufacturer and have a cable that you would like to get benchmarked then the Guidelines on Process for Product Testing CABLE document will detail all that you need to know.
The current list of cables on the cable benchmark scheme can be found here.