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The ideal broadcast down converter for those with no spare rack space

Crystal Vision has released Q-Down Mini – a new version of its popular broadcast down converter and distribution amplifier. Q-Down Mini is Crystal Vision’s first minibox and has been designed for attaching directly to the back of SD monitors in space-challenged environments with no spare rack space.

Q-Down Mini is a down converter with two major advantages: a unique level of image quality in its price range (with its sophisticated two dimensional filtering which avoids aliasing while retaining picture sharpness) and a short processing delay of just 16 lines which eliminates the need to compensate audio signals for the video delay. This customer-requested product was developed because Austrian broadcaster ORF could find no alternative standalone product with the same level of conversion quality or short delay for the HD upgrade of its OB vehicle, which was retaining most of its SD monitors and therefore required 69 down converters.

Q-Down Mini features flexible outputs, with a reclocked loop-through of the HD or SD input, a dedicated SDI output and three Standard Definition outputs individually link selectable between analog (composite, Y/C, YUV and RGB) and digital. It can down convert 720p and 1080i High Definition at both 50Hz and 59.94Hz, with the down converter bypassed if the input is Standard Definition.

Q-Down Mini incorporates many other useful features. These include four alternative vertical filter characteristics (softest, soft, sharp and sharpest) for those who want to optimize the performance for their material. It will deal with any aspect ratio conversion requirements, with Anamorphic, Letterbox and centre cut conversions. There are also three video delay settings available: ‘minimum’ (16 or 52 SD lines processing delay, depending on the conversion), ‘fixed’ (52 SD lines) and ‘frame’. The ‘fixed’ 52 lines delay allows the aspect ratio to be changed live on air without any picture disturbance, while the ‘frame’ of delay can be used to match a variety of equipment or alternatively to connect with equipment that has no delay, with a signal’s timing reference repeating after a frame.

Competitively priced and available with a separate external universal AC power supply, this minibox is sized just 6.3 x 2.75 x 1.1 inches which means it fits easily on the back of a monitor – with the flexibility to be orientated in any direction to fulfil the requirements of the application. Q-Down Mini’s base includes two M3 threaded inserts which facilitate mounting it to a suitable back plate. It has six BNCs for the video signals and a 9-way D-Type plug for the power connections and access to the GPIs. All settings are configured by mini DIP switches on the outside of the box, with the Standard Definition outputs selected by a combination of these switches and internal moveable links. LEDs are used to indicate the presence of power and an active HD or SD serial input.

Explained Crystal Vision’s Managing Director, Philip Scofield: “Q-Down Mini was introduced because the existing standalone down converters did not meet the requirements of some broadcasters. Those that believe that a down converter needs a short delay and want to keep the maximum quality of an HD signal can now use a converter in a minibox and get exceptional value for their money.”

Principally designed to be used for providing down converted feeds for SD monitors but equally useful for any other down conversion applications, Q-Down Mini is shipping now.

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.