BSkyB Purchases Seven Memphis Encoders for New HD Services

BSkyB, which operates U.K.'s largest digital television platform, has purchased seven Snell & Wilcox Memphis encoders to master content for its new HD services.

The Memphis SD/HD MPEG-2 encoder combines two technologies from Snell & Wilcox--Prefix compression preprocessing and Ph.C, a motion estimation technology--to deliver results at a given bitrate when compared to any competing system available today. The Memphis encoder accepts SD and HD 1080 and 720 format inputs, as well as uncompressed PCM, MP1L2, Dolby E, and AC-3 audio.

BSkyB will use the Memphis systems to create high-quality HD Long GOP MPEG-2 streams, which will then be stored on Omneon Spectrum servers, with which Memphis has been fully integrated. The integration of Memphis encoders and Spectrum servers gives BSkyB interoperability for both playout and archiving applications.

"Quality of image is critical to the success of any HD service, and we conducted extensive testing in selecting systems for our HDTV infrastructure," said Chris Johns, director of technology at Sky. "Thanks to Snell & Wilcox Ph.C's motion estimation technology, the Memphis encoder provides the superior picture quality we require for MPEG mastering, and the system's flexible interfacing and easy expansion options will help us maintain the status of digital satellite services as the home of the highest-quality viewing experience."