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TNT in HD Uses Snell & Wilcox Alchemist Platinum Ph.CAlchemist used for high-quality upconversion of 2004 British Open (August 25, 2004)
Snell & Wilcox today announced that its Alchemist Platinum Ph.C motion-compensated standards converter was successfully used to change standards and upconvert standard-definition footage of The Open Championship 2004 for broadcast on TNT in HD, the new high-definition presentation of the TNT East Coast feed.
"Viewer online forums were very positive in their reviews of TNT's high-definition production of the British Open, with many comments questioning why TNT's broadcast was in HD while others were not," said Rick Ackermans, director of engineering for Turner Entertainment.
TNT had several options for upconverting the video feed, which was produced by the BBC in PAL 16:9 widescreen. The first option considered by TNT relied on a two-stage process with the programming first would be converted from PAL to NTSC and then upconverted from SD to HD. Because the NTSC standard supports only 525 lines, 100 lines of resolution would have been discarded in the first conversion phase, reducing the amount of detail available during the upconversion to the 1080-line HD format.
For the Open Championship, TNT ran the 625-line, 50-Hz European feed into a Snell & Wilcox Alchemist Platinum Ph.C, which upconverted the images in a single step to 1080i at 60 Hz for HD broadcast in the United States.
"The single conversion step enabled by the Alchemist Platinum Ph.C also meant that we could avoid having to de-interlace the video twice, which would have further deteriorated the video quality," added Ackermans.
"We expect that this will now become a very popular way of upconverting SD PAL to 1080i HD in NTSC," said Bob Protzman, Turner's director of Broadcast Transmission Services. "While we had less resolution to work with than if we'd started with a native HD feed, it was a significant improvement over the previously considered two-stage process that threw away valuable data."
The Open Championship 2004 was the second major sporting event broadcast over TNT in HD, after the NBA's Western Conference Finals in late May. It was the first HD event upconverted from SD from a European venue. The Royal Troon Golf Club in Ayreshire, Scotland hosted this year's The Open Championship 2004. Because the BBC had shot the event 4:3 safe, the HD signal also could be used for TNT's SD service following downconversion.
This was the third Alchemist Ph.C purchase for Turner, as two converters have been used over the past four years to convert TNT Latin America and Cartoon Network Latin America programming to PAL for its Argentina feed.
About Snell & Wilcox
Snell & Wilcox, the leader in its field, delivers technologies and products that enable television and satellite broadcasters, post production facilities, film makers, and communications professionals to move content seamlessly between analog, digital, high definition and file-based systems and to bridge the world's multiplicity of line/field and color standards. The company provides switchers and keyers, standards conversion systems, networked infrastructure components, and products for noise reduction, image enhancement and restoration. In business since 1973, Snell & Wilcox maintains its U.S. headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. and European headquarters in Hampshire, United Kingdom. Additional offices are located in New York, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, and Russia. Visit www.snellwilcox.com for more information.
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