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THE QUARTZ Q128 serial video router newly installed at BSkyB's Playout Centre in Osterley, West London, is now on air.
Configured for 128 x 128 operation, the Q128 feeds a large proportion of BSkyB's main output to transmission from one of four MPEG encoding equipment rooms and accommodates the broadcaster's growing number of digital television channels.
Having purchased a number of Quartz matrices for other projects, BSkyB's Multi-Channel Playout Engineering Manager Paul Camus felt Quartz have already lived up to their high reputation: "We already had several Quartz routers at BSkyB. I needed a proven reliability record because the new matrix was to be used to feed a proportion of Sky's main output. Another reason for choosing Quartz was because of the high standard of technical support that we had experienced in the past".
The Q128 was selected partly for its modular design and good value. Camus was particularly impressed with the hot-swappable modules: "Each module carries only four channels, a relatively small number of signals, so that only a minimal number of outputs are affected in the event of failure".
BSkyB also opted for the Q128 monitoring feature which monitors and confirms the signal leaving each matrix output. With its ultra shallow frame occupying just 150 mm to the rear of the BNC connectors, the Q128 provides a number of space-saving features including dual outputs as standard.
Introduced in 1999, the 12 U high Q128 is one of the most powerful routers in the Quartz product range, being expandable within the same chassis from 32 x 32 through 48 x 48 and 64 x 64 to BSkyB's choice of 128 x 128. For larger systems, the Q128 can be increased in capacity to handle over 500 inputs and outputs. The router's modular structure is configured to allow expansion in blocks of four i/o groups. Its exceptionally compact front to back dimensions contribute to a very low weight of just 28 kg. Major features comprise automatic cable equalisation on each input, twin 75-ohm video outputs, fully automatic sampling rate detection (143, 177, 270 and 360 Mbit/s to SMPTE 259M), low power consumption, zero drift, and clean vertical-interval switching. Dual sync input enables the Q128 to handle 525 and 625 line signals simultaneously.
Fully compatible with all other Quartz routers, the Q128 is supported by a wide range of options including cascade output instead of dual output (for expansion beyond 128 inputs), true output stage monitoring, and redundant controller.
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