ADS Technologies, a supplier of video capture and editing systems for PCs, has branched out to the world of digital television with the introduction of an outboard HDTV Upconverter that delivers HD and progressive-scan signals from any video source.
ADS calls the HDTV Upconverter, which is shipping now at an estimated street price of $599, "ideal for those who have invested in the cost of an HDTV-capable television but who are limited to the standard broadcast quality content still used by most stations and cable companies."
Unlike some earlier upconversion devices that only output up to 480p resolution, the ADS system is designed to output HDTV, EDTV and SDTV signals sources, offering a cleaner signal than is possible with the upconverting and scaling circuitry built into many HDTV and EDTV monitors. It is also priced more affordably than most outboard Upconversion systems.
"Our philosophy has always been to take the technology that is out there, but out of reach by the general consumer, and bring it down to the consumer level and make it more of a mass market product," said Mike McCoy, ADS Technologies president.
Using a remote control button, viewers can select video output for the standard ATSC display formats — 480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i formats. For more precise scaling, an onscreen menu offers output selections for seven other resolution settings including 1366 by 768p and 960 by 480p.
"By giving the display the exact pixel resolution it is expecting, it doesn't have to work so hard, and in many cases the image really gets sharper," said McCoy.
Included in the Upconverter is Motion Adaptive Deinterlacing circuitry from Genesis Microchip, which reduces common image processing artifacts that result from upconverting interlaced source material to progressive scan. It also combines with 3/2 pulldown for film-based material to produce 60 progressive fields per second. The result is a cleaner picture with enhanced colors and sharpness.
High definition signals input in 1080i format can either be passed through to the monitor without processing, or down converted to another format, such as 720p, for those displays with a native 1280 by 720p capability.
Other features include an adaptive four-line comb filter, 9-bit A to D converters with 2x oversampling, spatial, temporal and 3D noise reduction filters, and 10-bit D to A progressive or interlaced output.
The HDTV Upconverter acts as a switcher/hub for the connection of all video devices in the system. Video inputs include 1 analog coaxial with 125-channel cable ready tuner, 3 sets of standard and HD component video, 3 S-video and 3 RCA composite video. Looking to hit an under $600 price point, ADS omitted digital in/out connectors such as DVI/HDMI or IEEE-1394. But those may be considered in future product offerings, McCoy said.
As well, the device acts as an audio switcher for those users who may not have an A/V receiver. Included are nine right/left audio input jacks that allow video and audio signals to be shipped simultaneously through the device to the television display. Audio signals are unaltered by processor.
Outputs include 1 set of HD component video and 1 set of right/left RCA audio jacks.
ADS, which has traditionally sold PC peripheral products, is working with new retail buyers to carry the product. McCoy said, adding that there will be some cross over in such dealer accounts as Fry's. Good Guys and Tweeter. ADS uses a variety of distribution methods depending on the size of the account – including direct, two-step (including D&H) and via reps.