By Vijaya Cherian
Operating from a large OB truck in Portugal, the BBC became the first customer to use Crystal Vision's dual channel 10 bit horizontal aspect ratio converter for Euro 2004.
The BBC has used ten Crystal Vision ShARC204-XPs for aspect ratio conversion for Euro 2004. Operating from a large outside broadcast truck in Portugal, the BBC became the first customer to use the dual channel 10 bit horizontal aspect ratio converter. One reason for using Crystal Vision was because the company was able to supply the large number of boards needed for the event.
Crystal Vision dedicated extra development time to finishing the ARC specifically in time for the European football tournament. "When we heard the BBC's requirement for 18 channels of aspect ratio conversion for Euro 2004, we knew that the ShARC-XP would meet their requirements,” says Philip Scofield, managing director of Crystal Vision. “We went all out to have the product ready for the BBC's timescale. We had always thought that a large sports event was the perfect application for ShARC-XP because of its combination of high picture quality, near zero delay and small size with up to 24 channels in a single 2U frame."
The Portuguese national broadcaster RTP had the rights to film the football matches, and supplied the pictures to the BBC in 4:3 format. The BBC also had some of its own cameras in Portugal, which filmed in 16:9. ShARC-XP was used to make the Portuguese and BBC formats consistent. ShARC-XP only changes the horizontal aspect ratio, maintaining an exceptional output quality because there is no deterioration of vertical performance.
The product encompasses the latest technology and can perform two horizontal conversions. In this case, the BBC used the 4:3 Pillarbox function to compress the image and add black bands on either side to make it suitable for a 16:9 monitor. The picture was then sent back to the UK where it was broadcast directly to digital television viewers and underwent further conversion to 4:3 for analogue viewers.