Format flexibility in decoders - Lock the format or take advantage of AFD

August 30, 2013 - 2:37pm
Sports broadcasts often utilize higher aspect ratios for their broadcast streams.

TV industry analysts were abuzz this week following the announcement that Panasonic will soon release a camera system that can capture 160 degrees of action at once in a near-panoramic view. The Ultra-Wide Camera System, designed to benefit sports viewing by making entire fields available in one clear image that doesn't sacrifice any precision of detail, will offer a 64:9 HD video aspect ratio, reported Gizmag. It's a significant jump from the current HD industry standard of 16:9.

The new technology brings up another key point, which is the proliferation of video aspect ratios, an variable component of video transport and picture quality and often a headache for broadcasters. Since aspect ratio changes depending on what the original content creator wanted, higher-aspect ratio streams like sports broadcasts cause issues for downstream equipment. 

Active Format Description (AFD) codes are used in digital broadcasting to correct this problem, reconfiguring images so that they appear in their least distorted state. Many broadcasters choose to pass through the content creator-provided AFD codes to avoid the extra steps of reconfiguring aspect ratios to make them uniform, as this can lead to significant operating expenses that don't make much a difference where viewing is concerned. Different aspect ratios often leads to format alteration in order for the video to fit the screen, which can cause cropping or letterboxing of the image, according to Digital Trends.

Video broadcasters can avoid this issue by utilizing advanced modular receiver decoders that "lock" the output format for easier downstream management. Locking the baseband output format mitigates potential issues for all downstream equipment, such as video routers, switches and encoders. 

Sencore provides reliable, cost-effective solutions for signal transmission and content delivery. Our line of receiver/decoders support all common video formats, blending industry-leading functionality with an evolutionary capacity for next-generation video transport demands. Contact us today to learn more

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