Snell & Wilcox Introduces Quasar Motion Compensated HDTV Upconverter

Snell & Wilcox today announced Quasar, the world’s finest ever HDTV upconverter and the first to integrate motion compensation technology. The new Quasar platform utilizes motion estimation techniques based on Snell & Wilcox’s Emmy Award-winning Ph.C technology to produce dazzlingly clear and sharp high definition outputs from a variety of standard definition inputs.

Developed from the ground up to deliver the ultimate conversion to high definition formats, Quasar combines three industry-leading, Emmy award-winning Snell & Wilcox technologies in a single compact, 1-RU package. These include Ph.C motion estimation, HD conversion, and Prefix compression pre-processing. The resulting images are truly stunning.

“Quasar is the product broadcasters have been looking for to produce eye-catching pictures for HD-savvy viewers while gradually upgrading their SD plant,” said Joe Zaller, vice president of marketing at Snell & Wilcox. “It is the perfect solution for facilities seeking a competitive edge in image quality while pursuing a cost-effective transition to high definition.”

At the heart of Quasar is motion estimation technology based on Snell & Wilcox’s Ph.C, which has never before been available in a product in this price range. Unlike traditional upconverters that employ multifield apertures, Quasar’s motion-compensated conversion delivers the sharpest possible HD outputs, regardless of the complexity of the input. For example, Quasar is equally adept both at preserving high-frequency detail in action-packed images from sporting events and at converting the fine detail in scrolling text and captions—even when signals contain a mixture of film- and video-originated material.

“The incorporation of motion estimation technology breaks new ground in upconversion,” said Zaller. “This enables Quasar to deliver the finest upconverted pictures available in the television industry.”

Designed with easy-to-use, intuitive controls, Quasar handles video, film, graphics, and mixed media sources with equal ease, upconverting interlaced SD 525 and 625 material to 720p and 1080i HDTV formats. Captions, graphics, logos, and branding are converted seamlessly, while an integrated clipper and legalizer guarantees correct display and failure-free operation. A versatile, on-board aspect-ratio converter comes with a series of fixed pre-sets for the most common conversions. Quasar also supports widescreen signaling to allow for easy integration into a transmission playout environment.

Beyond breaking new ground in HDTV upconversion performance, Quasar also provides extremely robust signal handling and a comprehensive range of image processing controls. A frame synchronizer enables rock-solid performance even with unstable signals. Advanced signal conditioning and noise reduction filters enhance all incoming sources for optimum quality. Additionally, Quasar offers full audio support including embedded, AES, and compressed formats, supports closed captions and has a dual redundant power supply.

As with all Snell & Wilcox “smart” infrastructure products, Quasar is “self aware” and plug-and-play ready for centralized setup and monitoring through RollCall. It joins more than 300 IQ Modular products and dozens of stand-alone system components that instantly integrate into the industry’s most advanced, flexible, and scalable broadcast infrastructure.

More information about Quasar and Snell & Wilcox’s complete product line can be found at or at the company’s NAB2006 booth, SU156.