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Snell & Wilcox Showcases Industry-Leading Solutions for Transition to HDTV and Worldwide Explosion of New Content Distribution Platforms


New HD Conversion and Content Repurposing Systems Erase Boundaries Between Standards, Formats, and Platforms

AMSTERDAM (IBC) -- Sept. 8, 2006 -- Breakthrough products from Snell & Wilcox on view this week at IBC2006 give broadcasters and content owners a powerful array of new solutions that support the rapid growth of HD services and the proliferation of new distribution platforms, while ensuring that consumers get the best possible viewing experience on every medium from the largest HDTV monitors to the tiniest mobile phones.

Products aimed at HD services include the new Alchemist Ph.C - HD, a motion-compensated HDTV frame-rate standards converter that brings Snell & Wilcox’s world-class standards conversion technology into the HDTV domain; and the Quasar Ph.C upconverter, which delivers twice the resolution of any such product on the market. Further aiding the transition to HD is a new version of the multiformat SD/HD Kahuna production switcher, which extends the power of the multi-award-winning Kahuna to small- and medium-sized applications with a new compact mainframe and a series of compact control panels.

To help broadcasters and content owners fully and efficiently take advantage of the opportunities provided by the proliferation of distribution platforms, Snell & Wilcox is launching iCR, an integrated content mastering and repurposing workstation that enables users to create high quality digital masters of their content and then repurpose these for distribution on multiple, revenue generating platforms. Supporting this proliferation from the QC point of view is Hyperion, an automated monitoring system that tracks content integrity at every stage in the broadcast infrastructure from ingest to distribution and thus enables many additional channels of programming to be managed while protecting broadcasters from lost revenue associated with program downtime and legal issues.

For the fast growing mobile TV market Snell & Wilcox has developed Helios Mobile, which leverages the company’s multi-award-winning image processing technologies to deliver the best possible quality viewing experience for any mobile device on all types of wireless networks. Helios Mobile refocuses and reframes video images to optimize them for tiny screens, while its superior image processing and compression technology saves on bandwidth by creating “better pics for fewer bits.”

“In the past year we’ve seen an accelerated move to HDTV operations around the world,” said Joe Zaller, vice president of marketing. “At the same time broadcasters and content owners are being faced by all the challenges and opportunities of repurposing their content for new distribution platforms that include the Internet, iPods, mobile telephones, VOD and IPTV. The products we are exhibiting at IBC allow our customers to maximize the opportunities these developments provide by erasing the boundaries between SD and HD, international frame-rate standards, and between traditional and emerging distribution platforms. In each case, we’re committed to helping broadcasters, content owners, and mobile service providers deliver the best possible viewing experience, while giving them the powerful tools they need to do so efficiently and cost-effectively.”

Selected New Products at IBC2006

Visit Snell & Wilcox at IBC2006 stand 8.271 to see these and many other new products that will be announced during the show.

iCR Automated Content Repurposing Workstation Creates, Packages, and Repurposes Revenue-Generating Content for Multiple Distribution Platforms
In a move that facilitates the shift towards a “master once, repurpose many” strategy for broadcasters and content owners, Snell & Wilcox is unveiling iCR, an automated content mastering and repurposing workstation that enables users to create high quality digital masters of their content and then repurpose these for distribution on multiple, revenue generating platforms. Integrating unique image conditioning, content mastering, quality control (QC), and content repurposing functionality, iCR delivers superior image quality while drastically reducing the time required to repurpose revenue-generating content for multiple media platforms

iCR’s concurrent processing capabilities eliminate the need for the separate encoding and transcoding processing steps required today. Instead iCR performs these as part of a single workflow, and in fact allows multiple simultaneous transcode processes to start as soon as the master encode process is underway. As a result, users can complete all their mastering and repurposing tasks in about the same time it would take to perform a single encode/transcode operation using conventional processing.

As well as enabling content to be repurposed more quickly than traditional systems, iCR provides tools that dramatically reduce the costs associated manual QC processes. This combination of concurrent processing and automated QC means that iCR gives its users the lowest cost per deliverable -- whether the output is for broadcast, VOD, mobile phones, portable media viewers, or internet/web publishing -- while delivering high quality results.

Alchemist Ph. C - HD, the New Benchmark for High-Definition Standards Conversion
Snell & Wilcox brings its world-class standards conversion technology into the HDTV domain to create a peerless motion compensated HD standards converter: the Alchemist Ph.C - HD. The product of extensive research into the exacting demands of HD frame-rate standards conversion, the new Alchemist Ph.C - HD yields converted images of unparalleled quality and clarity so that even the most dynamic inputs are delivered with stunning detail, free from artifacts and virtually indistinguishable from the original HD content.

The new Alchemist Ph.C - HD provides a complete standard and format conversion solution in a compact and robust package. As well as offering high-definition frame-rate conversion for both 1080i and 720p standards, it also performs SD standards conversion between 50Hz and 60Hz material and HDTV upconversion, downconversion, and crossconversion. This gives users unsurpassed power and flexibility to leverage content around the world - in virtually any standard or format - without compromising quality.

The system’s architecture provides two outputs that can be used for transmission of program feeds in multiple standards or formats depending on the requirements of the customer. This dual output capability provides enormous flexibility to users who must deliver content in multiple standards or formats.

When designing the Alchemist Ph.C - HD, Snell & Wilcox engineers rigorously refined and optimized both the company’s Ph.C motion estimation and standards conversion algorithms to deal with the demands of HDTV video systems. The resulting system delivers pristine images. The converted output of the Alchemist Ph.C - HD is virtually artifact-free, low in noise, and high in detail and fidelity, especially in fast-paced HD news, sports, and live events. The Alchemist Ph.C - HD maintains a sharp, clean look whatever the content or display.

Snell & Wilcox Hyperion Breaks New Ground in Control & Monitoring and Content Quality Control
This week at IBC, Snell & Wilcox is showcasing Hyperion, a groundbreaking new content monitoring system that uses the industry’s most advanced video processing technology to give broadcasters a comprehensive, configurable, and fully automated way to track content integrity. Being designed into all applicable Snell & Wilcox broadcast infrastructure products, Hyperion mimics human intelligence to automate the process of video, audio, and metadata monitoring of content throughout the broadcast signal chain. From ingest to transmission, Hyperion brings a new level of sophistication to multichannel content monitoring and offers broadcasters significant new protections when airing high-value, premium television programs.

Until now, automatic content monitoring systems have mainly focused on the technical aspects of a video signal. Hyperion goes much further. For example, Hyperion can detect subtle errors such as whether the content is too dark or too still. It can also intelligently address critical elements such as multi-language soundtracks, multichannel audio types, and the ever-increasing volume of metadata that tie together today’s complex broadcast operations. In contrast to monitoring systems that are focused on identifying errors at the moment they are broadcast, Hyperion is designed to be distributed throughout the signal chain and thus allow errors to be identified and corrected well before transmission. This level of preventative quality control not only ensures the integrity of the playout schedule, it also protects broadcasters from lost revenue associated with program downtime and legal issues.

Hyperion simplifies remote monitoring by providing powerful tools that utilize metadata to track and QC content in conjunction with automation and scheduling systems. Easy integration with the powerful Snell & Wilcox RollCall, RollMap, and RollSNMP broadcast control and monitoring systems -- as well as third-party systems -- simplifies operator alerts, notification, and messaging. Hyperion alarm information can also be integrated with all popular display wall processors to provide a unified and ergonomic display interface for QC operations.

Helios Mobile Delivers Best Quality Viewing Experience for Mobile Devices
Snell & Wilcox is raising mobile TV picture quality to an unprecedented level with Helios Mobile, a groundbreaking system for the automated repurposing and delivery of content for mobile TV applications.

The Helios Mobile system combines the industry’s most advanced video compression with a series of unique image processing techniques to deliver visibly superior results on any mobile device on all types of wireless networks. Mobile subscribers will experience visibly superior video images optimized for mobile TV, making the viewing experience both more compelling and more reliable.

Television content repurposed by Helios Mobile is ideal for the small screens of portable handset displays. The system can dynamically separate the foreground and the background within the video image, and treat each separately in order to concentrate the energy of the compression encoder on the parts of the image that are most important to the viewer. Bringing the most important object, character, or athlete into crisp detail while lessening the detail and prominence of objects or scenery in the background, Helios Mobile delivers a compelling viewing experience on tiny displays. Helios is also designed to dynamically reframe video images and the produce tighter, sharper shots that retain the emotional impact of the original when displayed on the small screen.

In addition to creating a high quality viewing experience for the consumer, Helios Mobile also delivers significant benefits to mobile operators. By creating “better pics for fewer bits” the system saves valuable bandwidth and therefore reduces costs for the mobile operator. Helios Mobile’s automated operation also saves operators money by enabling them to work more efficiently as they capture and repurpose video content.

Quasar Ph.C Motion Compensated Broadcast Upconverter
With Quasar Ph.C, Snell & Wilcox launches the world’s finest ever HDTV upconverter and the first to integrate motion estimation technology. Developed from the ground up to deliver the ultimate conversion to high-definition formats, Quasar Ph.C combines industry-leading, Emmy award-winning Snell & Wilcox technologies in a single compact, 1-RU package. These include Ph.C motion estimation, DEFT 3:2 cadence correction, and Prefix compression pre-processing, as well as FormatFusion HDTV conversion. This level of technology has never before been available at such an affordable price and compact form factor. The resulting images are truly stunning.

Because it incorporates powerful Ph.C motion estimation technology, Quasar Ph.C delivers twice the resolution of other upconverters. Typical SD video content has an interlaced scanning structure, which means that each video frame is comprised of two fields, sampled at different points in time. To create a full resolution image these fields must be deinterlaced accurately and correctly.

Quasar Ph.C uses Ph.C motion estimation to analyze incoming images and shift the pixels in each video field so that they line up perfectly, even for complex scenes where there is fast motion, fine graphics or mixed film and video material. The use of motion estimation technology enables Quasar Ph.C to seamlessly combine all the information in each video field into a full resolution frame, from which it produces its upconverted output.

Kahuna Multiformat SD/HD Production Switcher Now Available in Smaller Form Factor
Broadcasters no longer need to choose between size and functionality when it comes to SD/HD production switchers. Snell & Wilcox eliminates this tradeoff by extending the power of its multi-award-winning Kahuna SD/HD production switcher to small- and medium-sized applications with the introduction of a new compact mainframe and a series of compact control panels. Now users who require a 1-M/E or 2-M/E production switcher can enjoy all the power, functionality, and flexibility of Kahuna - including powerful IMPAKT 3-D DVE capabilities - that make it the switcher of choice for a smooth and controlled transition to HD.

The new additions to the Kahuna switcher family maintain the full power and functionality of the top-of-the-line system, including the ability to seamlessly intermix SD and HD sources within the same production. The new 6-RU Kahuna mainframe supports up to two full M/E banks and four tiles of IMPAKT 3D DVE, and can be used with a broad range of full-sized and compact Kahuna control panels. The system’s networking capabilities enable users to assign M/Es and DVE power dynamically to individual panels, and the system can be easily upgraded to accommodate a facility’s growth. The system also integrates easily with routing switchers, VTRs, media servers, slow-motion machines, and other external systems.

More information about Snell & Wilcox products is available online at

Snell & Wilcox designs and builds the world’s most advanced systems for video playout, mastering, repurposing, infrastructure, and live production switching. Providing solutions that deliver immediate value while enabling a controlled and cost-effective transition to HD and file-based systems, the company serves a worldwide base of customers in the broadcast, postproduction, cable, satellite, mobile TV, and IPTV markets. In business since 1973, Snell & Wilcox maintains its U.S. headquarters in Burbank, Calif., and European headquarters in Hampshire, U.K. Additional offices are located in New York, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, and Russia. Visit for more information.

Snell & Wilcox, Putting Picture to Work, Alchemist, Ph.C, Quasar, Kahuna, iCR, Hyperion, Helios Mobile and “Better Pics for Fewer Bits,” RollCall, RollMap, RollSNMP, DEFT, Prefix, FormatFusion and IMPAKT are all trademarks of the Snell & Wilcox Group. All other trademarks mentioned herein are acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.


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