New from Crystal Vision is the ARC-20MC, a high performance bi-directional digital aspect ratio converter with a features-set that makes it suitable for any application. Crystal Vision has worked hard to make the ARC-20MC its best aspect ratio converter yet while retaining its affordability, with an excellent conversion quality, more SDI outputs than ever before, and features designed for easy automation of the aspect ratio conversion including full AFD support and the ability to change the aspect ratio live on air without picture disruption.

ARC-20MC saves the broadcast engineer time by providing presets for the six commonly used aspect ratio conversions between 4:3 and 16:9. Three of these conversions allow 16:9 sources to be shown on a 4:3 monitor with the geometry preserved (16:9 to 4:3 Letterbox, 16:9 to 14:9 Letterbox and 16:9 to 4:3 Full Screen), while the other three allows similar easy conversion of 4:3 to 16:9 (4:3 to 16:9 Pillarbox, 4:3 to 14:9 Pillarbox and 4:3 to 16:9 Full Screen).

ARC-20MC offers flexibility too and allows these preset aspect ratios to each be independently customized. Continuous compression or expansion in line and pixel increments of up to +/- 25% can be used to change the picture size, while vertical and horizontal offsets of +/- 50% of picture size allow the easy addition of subtitles. Vertical and horizontal cropping from 0-100% also make it possible to completely blank the image starting from any edge and so remove any unwanted material.

ARC-20MC has been designed for broadcasters that care about the quality of their output picture. The high performance conversion comes from a combination of 10 bit processing and motion adaptive video de-interlacing, which maximizes the picture's vertical resolution and ensures that it will choose the best processing method based on the video content. Changing the aspect ratio can result in an apparently softer picture, therefore the adjustable detail enhancement feature allows the image to be sharpened. Also available is noise reduction, while color fidelity can be maintained by using the RGB and YUV lift and gain controls.

ARC-20MC is the perfect choice for those that want to automate their aspect ratio conversion. The board is well suited to following any AFD data present in the signal for automatic switching of the aspect ratio with its ability to switch instantly and cleanly between two conversions in a single frame blanking period, which allows aspect ratios to be changed live on air. ARC-20MC can dynamically select the best conversion based on the Video index, WSS or SMPTE 2016 AFD data in the incoming video. Video index, WSS and SMPTE 2016 AFD data can also be inserted into the output video for use by downstream equipment – either manually or by following the incoming AFD.

ARC-20MC passes all embedded audio, ensuring the audio is delayed by the same amount as the video and therefore removing the need for a separate audio delay. It can also compensate for delays generated by other equipment in a system: on top of the minimum fixed delay of one frame minus 16 lines there is a fully flexible variable video delay of up to one frame plus 16 lines, adjustable in lines and pixels. ARC-20MC’s signal probe functionality makes it useful for flagging up faulty signals in a system, with 13 video and audio alarms available.

For those that need to send their SDI signals over very large distances, the ARC-20MC can be given integrated fiber connectivity simply by fitting either the FIP fiber input option or FOP fiber output option – and still only use a single frame slot.

Commented Crystal Vision’s Managing Director, Philip Scofield: “Standard Definition video will remain with us for a number of years yet. Crystal Vision is committed to ensuring its Standard Definition products, as well as its HD and 3Gb/s products, continue to offer the best performance and features.”

A space-saving 4 x 10.5 inches module, ARC-20MC can be easily integrated with any Crystal Vision products by fitting in the standard frames, available in 4RU, 2RU, 1RU and desk top box sizes and with up to 12 boards in 2RU.

ARC-20MC provides the most outputs Crystal Vision has ever featured on one of its aspect ratio converters, with five outputs of the converted SDI signal – potentially saving the engineer a distribution amplifier in his system. A DA6 top board can also be optionally fitted to give six reclocked loop-throughs for distribution of the original SDI signal, useful for those who have both 4:3 and 16:9 versions of a program or who want to monitor the picture before and after the aspect ratio conversion. To access these inputs and outputs there is a choice of three frame rear modules, with the default RM41, the RM57 for fiber applications and the RM67 giving relay bypass protection. Control options are available to suit all preferences, including board edge switches, active front and remote panels, GPIs, SNMP and the Statesman PC software.

ARC-20MC is shipping now, and replaces the ARC-10MC.

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