04.13.2007 12:00 AM
Snell & Wilcox Converts Olympics and Beeb
Snell & Wilcox has snagged an order to supply NBC Universal with converters for the 2008 Olympic Games, and delivered one such device to the BBC in March. The deals involve the Alchemist Ph.C-HD, the new hi-def, motion-compensated, frame rate standards converter from the Hampshire, England-based company.

Coverage of the 2008 Olympics will be originated in the 1080i/50 broadcast standard for HD and the 625/50 (PAL) standard for SDTV. Before NBC can transmit the content to the United States, it must first be converted to 1080i/60 for HD and 525/60 SD. As a result, NBC will convert every SD and HD feed from the 2008 Olympics through the Snell & Wilcox frame rate converters prior to U.S. delivery.

David Mazza, senior vice president of engineering for NBC Olympics, said, "Most of the 2008 Olympic Games will be transmitted in HDTV, so it's critical that we are able to convert this material transparently to the U.S. broadcast standard." Snell & Wilcox supplied the frame rate converters for the 2004 Athens games and the 2000 Games from Sydney.

The Beeb is no stranger to Snell & Wilcox conversion, having used it for standard-def for several years. The newly installed HD conversion system will be used primarily to convert finished 1080i programs between 1080/25 and 1080/29.97 interlaced and progressive formats, with some conversion to 720/59.94p, as well.

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