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Creative Group Sold on Link Electronics

The Link Electronics HDC-925 up/down/cross converterNEW YORK
Creative Group is a full high-definition post-production house with facilities for editing, color correction, film to tape transfer and four surround sound rooms.

During our quest to find a reasonably priced HD/SD up/down/cross converter, we discovered a particularly interesting unit that stood out from the rest—the HDC-925 from Link Electronics.

In evaluating equipment for this task, our first and most important requirement was picture quality. It is the signature of our product and we cannot short-change our customers.

PUTTING IT TO THE TEST

We did extensive testing of candidate converters, finding that while most did a good job of going from HD to SD, some fell short when we attempted to convert standard-definition video to HD. The most serious problem noted was ghosting, which was particularly apparent with color bars. We observed this not only on our video monitor, but also on the waveform monitor. Link's HDC-925, which is based around Teranex's award winning Hollywood Quality Video (HQV) technology, came through with flying colors in this regard, exhibiting no picture quality problems or artifacts that we noticed with other units.

Another requirement in our selection of conversion equipment—and one we considered very important—was ease of operation. As we have 22 edit rooms and a limited number of engineers, our selection had to be flexible, powerful and user-friendly. Front panel access of the HDC-925, along with the software provided, allows users to set up all functions with extreme ease. The converter is also designed to be addressable through local area networks, so technicians can make changes from the front panel or from a computer. We found the HDC-925 to be so user friendly that our people did not have to refer to the instruction book.

The HDC-925 retains captions when up- or downconverting, and the unit also handles Active Format Description (AFD) as well. When upconverting to HD, it takes the 608 captions, upconverts them to 708 captions and inserts both in the HD stream. When downconverting HD to SD, it takes the 608 captions and places them on line 21 in the SD stream. The HDC-925 can read AFD and adjust aspect ratios according to AFD instructions. It will also automatically or manually insert AFD into the output stream.

The Link HDC-925 is also equipped with Flexview, a nonlinear anamorphic aspect ratio converter designed for use when converting 4:3 to 16:9 without the traditional distortion associated with anamorphic stretching.

NO FRILLS

Another attribute of the HDC-925 is that it does what it is supposed to do and is not loaded down with a lot of extra features that most people don't use or need. You're not paying extra money for something you have no use for. We have other Link Electronics gear here too for closed captioning applications and sync generation. Our experience with their products has been shown to be very reliable, but when assistance is needed, it's comforting to know that we can connect with a live help desk person available on a 24/7 basis for technical support. There's also a 10 year parts and labor warranty, and the knowledge that Link products are made right here in the USA. This gives us peace of mind.

Nick LaBorne has been chief engineer at Creative Group for more than three years and has more than 30 years of experience in television. He may be contacted atnlaborne@creativegroup.tv.

For additional information, contact Link Electronics at 800-776-4411 or visitwww.linkelectronics.com.