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Roanoke’s WDBJ Television Adds AJA Conversion Gear

WDBJ television, the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Va., has purchased 23 of AJA Video Systems’ FS1 video converter/synchronizer units as part of its fast-track move this year into high-definition broadcasting of local newscasts.

“This year saw the purchase of a lot of new gear—studio cameras, video switcher, graphics generator and weather presentation—and AJA’s FS1 converter is the glue that keeps all of that working together,” said Carl Guffey, director of engineering at WDBJ. “We get feeds from a variety of sources—satellite, network and everything else you can think of—and the FS1 can handle it all.”

The FS1 units are audio and video HD/SD frame synchronizers and converters which support most all input and output formats. The station is using 12 of the FS1s to upconvert SD video to HD and another set of FS1s are handling HD to SD downconversion chores for feeding legacy station gear and non-HD transmissions.

“We instantly started referring to the FS1 as our ‘can opener’ because it does everything,” Guffey said. “The FS1 allows us to do just about anything. We can up-convert, down-convert, add wings and even translate in closed caption, which is huge. Sometimes we’ll get incoming feeds that are not in HD, and when they go out on air they either have to be in HD or be closed captioned. The FS1 allows us to cross-convert the captioning up to HD, and from HD down to SD.”

WDBJ has been on the air since 1955 and started broadcasting some of its programming in high definition in 2002 after a move to a new facility. It has continued to add high-definition capability following that move.