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Motorola HD News at NAB

Motorola has news on the wire this morning out of the NAB show, and much of it has to do with high-definition broadcasting. First, the company announced that its MPEG products will now support Active Format Description (AFD). Sounds technical, but the concept is exceedingly simple. By supporting AFD, the MPEG encoders and transcoders can determine how best to convert and depict an HD signal on a standard-definition television set. For example, with some HD content it’s best to maintain letterboxing even on a 4:3 TV set – i.e. black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. On the other hand, with some HD content it’s better to crop the image for a 4:3 set and maintain full size.

NBC has been a major proponent of AFD, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has implemented it as well for HD/SD simulcasting. According to Wikipedia, US broadcasters are working hard across the board to implement AFD in 2008 in time for the DTV transition next February.

In other HD news, Motorola announced that the HBO Latin America Group will add MPEG-4 AVC channels using Motorola equipment. More HBO HD south of the border.

UPDATE: One other interesting tidbit just came in about the AFD support.  Programmers can specify scene by scene how they want HD content to appear on SD TVs.  Cool.

4 Responses

  1. […] are coming out that help manage the complexities of mixed environments. For example, the AFD extension to the MPEG standard means HD video can be coded scene by scene for best viewing on an SD set. Another example – new […]

  2. […] based on information embedded in the HD content. The embedded information will follow the Active Format Descriptor (AFD) standard, which was designed to help networks determine how best to convert and display HD signals on SD […]

  3. […] The new Motorola DSR-6300 is an update to the DSR-6000 product line launched (very successfully) at the end of 2007. It can deliver content using either MPEG-4 AVC or MPEG-2 compression and transcodes content from MPEG-4 to MPEG-2 when necessary. Video compression using MPEG-4 reduces the amount of bandwidth needed for delivering HD content, but most deployed set-tops today aren’t MPEG-4 capable, hence the transcoding to MPEG-2. The shift to MPEG-4 in consumer homes is just starting to happen. The DSR-6300 can also simultaneously translate three HD programs from HD to SD using AFD for output to the right format. (See earlier blog post on AFD) […]

  4. […] year at the NAB Show,  Motorola announced support for Active Format Description (AFD) in its MPEG encoding products. So it seems appropriate that this year around NAB time I have an […]

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