Scopus Introduces DTV-Downconversion Device

New IRP-3910 Headend Device Aimed at Analog Carriage

Compression and transmission vendor Scopus Video Networks developed a new device for cable headends aimed at the federally mandated requirement for cable operators to carry both digital Advanced Television Systems Committee and analog National Television Systems Committee versions of local broadcasters’ signals after high-powered analog broadcasts cease Feb. 17, 2009.

Operators -- which must provide both digital and analog feeds of broadcasters’ signals through 2012 under the FCC’s so-called dual-carriage rule so that homes with analog cable-ready sets continue to receive service -- can either roll out new HD digital set-tops to analog homes that can receive and downconvert the broadcast signals or pursue the more financially attractive option of decoding and downconverting local stations’ HD signals at the headend before passing them on.

The Scopus IRP-3910 integrated receiver-processor device, which will be formally introduced at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ Cable-Tec Expo 2008 in Philadelphia next week, is aimed at the latter scenario. It will function as a professional decoder/processor/downconverter unit and allow operators to perform HD downconversion and aspect-ratio adaptation of off-air ATSC broadcasts.

"Scopus' IRP-3910 is an elegant and effective solution that meets transition challenges," said Yan Mostovoy, Scopus' product-marketing-management AVP, in a statement. "Now, any off-air HDTV digital-TV service can be downconverted for analog SD delivery by the IRP-3910. Building on our vast decoding-technology expertise and professional solutions, Scopus pioneered a best-in-class platform enabling U.S. cable operators to move forward confidently to the next wave of industry changes."

Scopus isn’t the first vendor to create such a device; Tandberg Television showed a similar product at the National Association of Broadcasters’ 2008 NAB Show in Las Vegas in April that drew strong interest from cable operators.

The Scopus box features up to four channels of HD decoding along with dynamic aspect-ratio conversion in a one-rack-unit chassis. It also incorporates multiplexing capability that enables grooming and PSIP (Program System and Information Protocol) data aggregation of multiple HD and SD programs for digital content distribution, which Scopus said will reduce overall system costs and complexity.