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The Evolution of the Tektronix Touchscreen Oscilloscope

Touchscreen displays have taken over day-to-day life. From smartphones and laptops to smart TVs and vehicle navigation systems, touchscreen displays are improving the experience and functionality of devices for users. Even NASA uses touchscreen displays for most operations on its latest spacecraft. 

In 2017, Tektronix launched the 5 Series MSO Oscilloscope, designed specifically for a touch interface. Previously, touchscreen capabilities were added to oscilloscopes after the fact, so they didn’t provide the same experience as touchscreens built from the ground up, such as users had with mobile phones. 

“In fact, when we launched the 5 Series MSO with touchscreen capabilities, we had to clearly communicate to engineers that this was a REAL touchscreen and would give them the same experience as a tablet.” says David Pereles, Technical Marketing Manager at Tektronix. The 5 Series MSO was also the first oscilloscope to offer 8 FlexChannel™ inputs that can be converted from analog to digital simply by changing the probes.

Since the launch, Tektronix has been releasing regular firmware updates, adding new functions and options, including new application software that essentially extends the capabilities of the oscilloscope. This constant product evolution protects your investment and ensures that Tektronix touchscreen oscilloscopes are future-ready and provide the latest tools for the job.

View the timeline overview.

Today, Tektronix touchscreen oscilloscopes offer solutions for common testing standards and support for a wide variety of embedded systems, digital protocols, high speed serial PHY layers, power measurements, wideband RF analysis and more, to meet a range of needs across many applications and industries. And thanks to these regular updates, customers who bought a scope a few years ago or one in the last few months both have access to all the new capabilities. 

Here’s a look at the timeline for the new offerings and enhancements:

  • In 2018, just one year after the launch of the 5 Series MSO, Tektronix launched the 6 Series MSO, a higher-performing oscilloscope with outstanding noise performance. It was the first midrange scope with 8 GHz bandwidth and 25 GS/s sample rate simultaneously on all 4 channels. It also incorporated a new low-noise preamplifier ASIC, the TEK061, and delivered 16-bit resolution at 220 MHz in high-resolution mode. This series was later relaunched in 2020 with up to 8 channels, and up to 10 GHz. It now features leading signal fidelity with 12-bit ADCs and industry-leading noise performance, contributing less than 52 μV of noise at 1 mV/div and 1 GH.
  • In 2019, the 4 Series MSO was launched, with the same capabilities as the higher-performing scopes. The 4 Series features the largest display (13.3”) with highest resolution (1920 x 1080 HD) in its class as well as 12-bit ADCs for the highest vertical resolution. It is the first scope in this class to offer six input channels with innovative FlexChannel™ technology.
  • Multiple releases of TekScopeTM software enable engineers to work from anywhere remotely. Users can view and analyze data from up to 32 channels from multiple scopes at the same time in the same interface. TekScope now offers the most sophisticated waveform analysis PC software in the test and measurement market.
  • In January 2022, the 5 Series B MSO was launched, with some significant updates, which include a new auxiliary trigger that enables sync without consuming a full-capability input channel. Additional features include a 2x faster waveforms from the built-in function generator for frequency response analysis and general-purpose use, and a solid-state drive system that stores data on a removable drive for added security.
  • Since the 2017 launch of the 5 Series MSO and today, support has been added for over 2 dozen serial protocols, compliance testing for common physical layers, jitter analysis and advanced single-phase and three-phase power measurements.

Tektronix is delivering touchscreen oscilloscopes that go beyond expectations, with amazing versatility, outstanding insight, accelerated debugging and low noise. Learn more about how we’ve evolved our oscilloscopes over the last five years and how our frequent firmware updates ensure you always have the latest technology at your fingertips. 

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