ORF selects Crystal Vision for HD upgrade of Studio RP3

Austria’s national public service broadcaster ORF has selected Crystal Vision as the interface supplier for the HD upgrade of Studio RP3 in Vienna, purchasing 107 boards to down convert, up convert, synchronize and distribute the studio signals.

ORF broadcasts six TV channels – ORF1, ORF2, ORF2 Europe, TW1, ORF Sport Plus and 3sat (together with ZDF, ARD and SRG) – with the programmes which are made in Studio RP3 mainly transmitted on ORF2. This fully-equipped studio includes eight cameras, 16 server channels, a switcher with 80 inputs and 48 outputs and a 128 x 128 SD router, and is the first ORF studio to be upgraded from SD only to an HD capability.

Following the evaluation of several interface suppliers, ORF’s decision to use Crystal Vision for the studio refurbishment was based on price, good customer support and the down converter’s short processing delay. Studio RP3 produced its first HD programme on 25th April for the election of Austria’s federal president.

As the router and monitors in Studio RP3 are still SD it was necessary to down convert all the sources to Standard Definition in as short a time as possible to prevent a time delay on the monitors. ORF therefore selected 64 of Crystal Vision’s Q-Down123 down converters, which combines its short processing delay of 16 lines with excellent picture quality and flexible outputs that can be individually configured as analog or digital as required.

ORF is using six Up-and-down-S up/down/cross converters with on-board synchronizer to up convert SD material from the router to HD for the switcher. Nine of the new Up-Down-A 3G – designed to up, down or cross convert 3Gb/s, HD or SD sources and featuring motion adaptive video de-interlacing and configurable dual outputs – were also selected for outputting HD and SD simultaneously regardless of the incoming signal format.

Four SYNNER-E HD multi-functional synchronizers – which also include a tracking audio delay, embedder/de-embedder and audio processor – are being used to both embed audio and synchronize video on the one board. A SYNNER-E HD feature that ORF finds particularly useful is the Dolby E dependent preset recall, which allows ORF to have different settings depending on whether or not the signal contains Dolby E.

16 of the SYN HD synchronizers are being used for general synchronization of the studio signals, while the HD and SD signals are being distributed using eight HDDA105N distribution amplifiers.

The 107 boards are all housed in five Indigo 4SE 4RU frames and are located in RP3’s equipment room. Board control is done by using either Statesman Lite – the free version of Crystal Vision’s PC control software – or GPIs.

The order was co-ordinated by Crystal Vision’s Austrian distributor, Gelantec. Established in 1994 as a systems integration company and based just outside Vienna, Gelantec has won Crystal Vision’s Distributor of the Year award on three occasions.

ORF has been buying products from Crystal Vision for ten years and was Crystal Vision’s biggest overseas customer in both 2008 and 2009. Orders placed by ORF in 2009 included 238 interface boards for the HD upgrade of the FU22 OB vehicle, which included 53 Q-Down down converters and 46 Up-and-down up/down/cross converters.

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