Pro-Bel Converts HD Standards for NFL at Wembley

They may drive on the left side of the road over there, but Fox Sports wanted to make sure the HD production of the first-ever NFL regular season game at Wembley Stadium was up to its usual standards.

That meant using Pro-Bel’s Cifer HD motion-compensated standards converter to frame-convert the 720p50 program as produced at Wembley to 720p59.94 for distribution to the Fox HD affiliate stations in the US.

Fox produced the game in 720p50 with its usual special features including the 1st-and-10 line, “Fox Box” graphics, HD slow-motion replays and 5.1 surround sound.

Fox used three Cifers, one in London and two at the Fox Network Operations Center in Los Angeles. This allowed signal conversion from 720p50 to 720p59.94 to be carried out in either Great Britain or the United States and provided Fox with multiple levels of redundancy.

“With all of the challenges of doing a NFL production overseas, we are pleased that not only was there a full complement of equipment capable of 720p50, but that Pro-Bel’s Cifer performed its job such that the final result was as if we had produced the game in native 720p60,” said Jim DeFilippis, Fox senior vice president and principal engineer for digital television technologies and standards.”

Cifer, developed in conjunction with Digital Vision, incorporates “advanced sub-pixel motion compensation,” a proprietary motion estimation technique, Pro-Bel said. It can convert between any SD standard and between the primary HD standards.