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Crystal Vision has added three new features to its popular 10 bit aspect ratio converter, the ARC-10MC. Resulting from customer requests, these new features make the ARC-10MC useful for some automation applications and additionally provide an extra layer of security to protect the programme output.

The first new feature is video index detection and insertion. Video index control allows users to auto-switch the board to bypass if the input is already in the required aspect ratio, with the switch based on the aspect ratio information carried in the video index data according to SMPTE RP186. This reduces the need for the switch to be done manually and makes the ARC-10MC particularly useful for applications involving external video sources where the aspect ratio is often not known in advance. Video indexing can also be inserted into the output video for use by downstream equipment.

The second new feature is widescreen signalling (WSS) detection and insertion, based on the 625 line standard ETSI EN 300 294. The user can decide to bypass the processing when the WSS indicates that the input is a specific shape, again reducing the need for operator intervention. The ARC-10MC can also insert widescreen signalling data into the output video for use by downstream equipment. By adding video index and WSS to the ARC-10MC Crystal Vision has increased the potential uses for the aspect ratio converter, making it suitable for some automation applications. The video index and WSS controls are completely independent, allowing the insertion of both types of data on to the video output.

The ARC-10MC also gets relay bypass protection, thanks to the new RM43 frame rear module. This helps maintain programme output in the event of power failure or board removal, preventing signal loss by mechanically connecting the ARC-10MC’s unconverted input signal to one of its main outputs should the supply to the RM43 be interrupted. The RM43 provides two scaled SDI outputs and two reclocked input loop-throughs.

Explained Crystal Vision’s Managing Director, Philip Scofield: “The ARC-10MC was immediately popular with many users, but we received feedback from people who loved the picture quality but had applications that need the new features. We are delighted to have been able to satisfy these customers and can now offer a product that not only has outstanding picture quality, but also fits into to a very wide range of installations.”

The ARC-10MC’s popularity since its release last year has come from a winning combination of features. The conversion quality is excellent, thanks to the 10 bit processing as well as motion adaptive video de-interlacing which maximizes the picture’s vertical resolution and ensures that the ARC-10MC will choose the best processing method based on the video content, with the result that the output picture always appears smooth and natural-looking. It has presets for the six standard conversions between 4:3 and 16:9 and also allows the creation of custom aspect ratios, with continuous compression or expansion of a picture in line and pixel increments up to plus or minus 100 lines and pixels as well as vertical and horizontal offsets of the picture. The ARC-10MC will pass embedded audio, ensuring the audio is delayed by the same amount as the video and therefore removing the need for a separate audio delay. Finally it saves engineers rack space by being a 100mm x 266mm module, with 12 aspect ratio converters fitting in a 2U frame.

Based at Whittlesford near Cambridge in the UK, Crystal Vision provides digital keyers, picture storage modules and a full range of interface equipment including converters, decoders, encoders, distribution amplifiers and audio embedders to the professional broadcasting industry worldwide.