Zentek announces Active Format Description software

Friday, September 19th, 2008

SINGAPORE — Zentek today announced the successful completion of Active Format Description (AFD) software for ATSC demodulators. AFD allows broadcasters to control the timing of the aspect ratio switches more accurately than using MPEG signaling alone. Active Format Description eliminates the need for broadcasters switching between 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios to frequently resize their content for broadcast, but only benefits display and conversion platforms which support AFD.

Zentek’s AFD software allows the display and/or conversion platform to respond to the broadcast AFD data.

After the digital television conversion in February, 2009 many broadcasters in the United States will no longer broadcast 4:3 versions of their programming. Cable operators and others will be required to down-convert the 16:9 HD feeds from these broadcasters to generate the 4:3 SD versions for their SD viewers. The most common forms of down-conversion are center-cut (cropping off the left and right sides of the 16:9 image to fit into the 4:3 raster), and letter box (displaying the entire 16×9 image and adding black bars above and below the image to fill the screen).

DTV Decoders and Digital to Analog conversion systems utilizing Zentek’s AFD will be able to process the Active Format Description broadcast with HD Digital Television signals to allow SD television viewers to watch their HD programming while automatically controlling the picture shape, thus avoiding the postage stamp effect (a black border all around the video image).

Zentek’s AFD solution will use the broadcaster AFD data to allow the repeater station, STB or TV set to automatically adjust the image zoom for the best effect.