Marin TV Deploys Cobalt Cross-Converter

Cobalt Digital has announced that Community Media Center of Marin (CMCM), operator of Marin TV, is using a Cobalt BBG-1002-UDX stand-alone cross-converter to ensure its various incoming programs play out on a mixture of HD internet-streamed channels and SD cable channels while maintaining the correct picture formats.

CMCM is a nonprofit organization providing residents of Marin County, California, with access to communication technologies, media training, and the latest digital tools to create original content for cable TV and online media. Marin TV is Marin County's set of noncommercial community, educational, and governmental cable channels.

CMCM plays back a mix of legacy standard-definition (SD) programs and new HD video files from 23 different sources to four television channels. CMCM also takes in many external satellite and regional program feeds in both SD and HD. Many of the sources have previously been converted from HD to SD or vice versa, with black conversion bars on the top, bottom, or sides of the pictures. CMCM uses Cobalt Digital's BBG-1002-UDX on the output of each channel to take the sources of mixed formats and files and play them out correctly on HD and SD channels, without black bars and without stretching, squeezing, or cutting off part of the picture.

Unlike most converters, which require three to four seconds to react, the BBG-1002-UDX can recognize the input format so quickly that it can convert the input to the desired output in just a few frames' worth of time. The BBG-1002-UDX reads the AFD codes on the input source programs, so it knows if the source has been previously converted, which in turn means it can apply the correct output conversion without double-converting.

Instead of having to put a converter on each of the 23 input sources, CMCM only needed one converter for each of the output channels. In other words, CMCM only had to invest in eight converters — one for each of four HD internet channels and one for each of the four SD cable TV channels. In addition to BBG-1002-UDX's cross-conversion capabilities, it also provides value-added audio-level management and digital frame synchronization.

"Cost is always a big concern for nonprofit television programmers, which made the BBG-1002-UDX an especially good solution for CMCM. The BBG-1002-UDX gives the broadcaster a professional-grade, multifunctional conversion solution with exceptional performance at an affordable price."
Thomas Walsh, CEO, Media Control Systems
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