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Calibre UK to launch next-generation FoveaHD standards converter at NAB 2013

25 March 2013

Calibre UK will make motion-compensated frame-rate conversion the focus of attention on its NAB booth N1816 this year, as the company debuts an enhanced version of its FoveaHD standards converter.

FoveaHD made its global debut at NAB last year, and has, according to Calibre, established itself as a way of providing motion-compensated HD and SD standards conversion at the price point of a standard linear video converter. Behind the scenes, however, Calibre engineers have been looking at ways of refining the product further, enhancing its performance and broadening its appeal.

“There have been a lot of changes,” confirms Tim Brooksbank, Chairman, Calibre UK. “The motion estimation and motion compensation (MEMC) algorithms have been substantially refined through frame-by-frame analysis of challenging test material; audio and timecode processing have been much improved; and format-conversion quality has also been improved, especially for SD output modes which can be important for special-interest and regional channels who may need to down-convert HD to SD with simultaneous frame rate conversion.”

Specifically, Brooksbank notes, attention has been paid to “difficult content” which represents a challenge to motion estimation and compensation algorithms.

“There have been significant enhancements to global motion estimation – that is, where there is large area movement such as a pan across a football pitch with other smaller moving objects such as players and the football,” Brooksbank explains.

“There has also been more controllability added with better cadence handling for processing film or 24p originated content, and we can now also optimize the handling of content that has been heavily compressed.”

The improvements to operation in SD output mode are also key, says Brooksbank: “SD output from HD poses its own challenges, especially when combined with frame-rate conversion, as there is a desire to maintain content detail yet the output format is lower resolution which can limit detail capability and also limit motion estimation performance.

“The update to Fovea uses a novel technique whereby the frame-rate conversion is performed at HD whatever the input signal type so as to optimise motion vector and estimation accuracy, then the conversion to SD is subsequently performed if required.”

Other enhancements include the ability for users to set an MEMC ‘keep-out’ area so that content which would be degraded by motion estimation – such as subtitles or a scoreboard, for example – is excluded from the process. Calibre UK has also produced a quick-start guide to help users get the most out of the sophisticated options offered by FoveaHD.

Summing up, Tim Brooksbank says: “Whether your requirement is HD-to-HD, SD-to-HD with frame-rate conversion or HD-to-SD with frame-rate conversion, the upgraded FoveaHD has the capabilities you need. We are delighted to be bringing thislatest version to NAB where its enhancements will take pride-of-place on our booth, N1816.

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