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Germany’s First Free-to-Air HD Broadcaster Selects Snell & Wilcox Ukon Universal Conversion Platform


Ukon provides efficient and versatile conversion capabilities that enable migration of German broadcast and post firms into HD.

12/02/05, Germany’s first free-to-air HD broadcaster, ProSiebenSat.1 Group, is now using Snell & Wilcox Ukon to enable integration of SD archives and content into HD programming, and joins some of the country’s most cutting-edge broadcasters and post facilities who rely on Ukon for their conversion requirements.

Ukon simplifies the transition to HD by providing a universal conversion platform that performs format, standard, aspect-ratio, and frame-rate conversions all in a single pass. Among the other users in Germany relying on Ukon to support an efficient and orderly transition to HD are Plazamedia, APS Astra, Arri Film & TV Services, Medien Zentrum Tonndorf, Digital Images, PVT Produktion, Institut für Rundfunktechnik, and Montreux Sounds.

“The Snell & Wilcox Ukon provides valuable conversion tools that allowed us to launch our HDTV operations and moved German television into the future with high-quality broadcasts as part of regular HDTV operation,” said Dr. Martin Emele, head of technologies of ProSiebenSat.1 Produktion. “The ProSiebenSat.1 Group was the first German TV corporation to air individual HDTV broadcasts, and the Ukon will be key to our continuous HDTV broadcasts, as it enables simple upconversion of program segments that were either not produced or not available in native HTDV format.”

As European broadcasters begin their move into HD broadcasting, associated companies including production and post-production firms also are upgrading their facilities so that they will be prepared to meet the rising demand for HD content. The Ukon has been chosen widely by the German broadcast industry as the solution for upconverting valuable SD content, such as archived footage of a football match, so that it can be used to enhance upcoming HD coverage and broadcasts.

The Ukon provides upconversion, downconversion, and crossconversion, either singly or in any combination. Designed to handle different frame rates, image sizes, and aspect ratios, the system includes features such as tilt, pan and zoom, timecode conversion with precise frame mapping, comprehensive audio handling, and 3:2 cadence detection and repair. Unlike any other format conversion system, Ukon executes all these functions at the same time, in a single pass. Frequently used conversions can be programmed for reuse at the touch of a button.

The ProSiebenSat.1 Group is upconverting both of its largest free-TV channels, Sat.1 and ProSieben, broadcasting the two networks in high-resolution HDTV in a 16:9 wide-screen format parallel to the network’s standard definition broadcast. The new format has been on the air since Oct. 26, 2005.

Snell & Wilcox, the leader in its field, delivers technologies and products that enable television and satellite broadcasters, post-production facilities, filmmakers, 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 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.


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