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29 March 2007

Snell & Wilcox has revealed that its motion compensated Quasar Ph.C HDTV upconverter has been used by Arena TV, the UK’s largest privately owned supplier of OB services, to provide a seamless HD feed of the RBS 6 Nations Championship for BBC Outside Broadcasts. In its first use for a UK sports event, the Quasar Ph.C was installed in Arena’s HD7 OB unit at Twickenham to upconvert the output of the Red Bee Media Piero graphics system so that its 3D models of play meshed smoothly with feeds from the 23 HD cameras at the stadium.

“We turned to the Quasar Ph.C because we wanted to be sure that we could maintain a high standard for all of our HD camera sources and graphics within the 6 Nations feed,” said James Bonnar, head of outside broadcast at Arena TV, which was subcontracted by BBC Outside Broadcasts to deliver coverage for BBC Sport. “We implemented it to great success with the Piero system. The upconverted images looked crisp and sharp, and they blended nicely into the overall production. The output really looked fantastic. The key lies in how well the upconverter can fill in the missing bits, and Quasar Ph.C manages this exceptionally well.”

The RBS 6 Nations Championship 2007 was the first to be broadcast in HD as part of the BBC’s HD trial on cable, satellite, and DTT, with all home matches for England, Scotland, and Wales broadcast in the format.

For matches broadcast from Twickenham, Red Bee Media’s Piero technology created a virtual stadium in which virtual players could be seen from almost any angle, allowing viewers to see precisely how the ball was thrown and by whom. The Snell & Wilcox Quasar Ph.C was used specifically to upconvert this unique virtual element and bring Piero’s computer-driven graphics into the HD realm.

“The RBS 6 Nations Championship is among the premier sports events of the year here, making a high-quality HD broadcast a high priority,” said Joe Zaller, vice president of strategic marketing for Snell & Wilcox. “The Quasar Ph.C’s ability to preserve high-frequency detail in action-packed images and maintain the fine detail of slow or still images made it a perfect fit in this application, enabling a consistent look across the BBC’s HD broadcast.”

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