J SPORTS tackles Rugby World Cup with For.A

Japanese sports broadcaster, J SPORTS Broadcasting Corporation, selected FOR-A frame rate converters, signal processors and switchers to transmit coverage of the 2007 Rugby World Cup to viewers in Japan.

J SPORTS used the FRC-7000 HD frame rate converter, FA-9000 HD/SD signal processor, and HVS-600HS HANABI 1 M/E HD/SD switcher from FOR-A and the Fujitsu IP-9500 HD video encoder/decoder for the duration of the event, which occurred in France from September 7th through October 20th.

J SPORTS broadcasts soccer, baseball, cycling, and many other competitive international events to viewers in Japan throughout the year. The J SPORTS crew conducted a year’s worth of tests to prepare for the Rugby World Cup. All 48 matches were broadcast to Japan using H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) compression.

The FRC-7000 frame rate converter was used to convert locally produced 1080/50i material to 1080/59.94i – the broadcast format in Japan. Mr. Yojiro Tomihisa, Section Manager, Technical Coordinator, Production Team of J SPORTS, explained that the decision to use the FRC-7000 stemmed from a need to maintain the highest possible image and sound quality: “Picture and audio quality are our highest priority during production. We chose the FRC-7000 because of its acclaimed image quality. The results during the Rugby World Cup were superb. The frame rate converter stabilized the dynamic video thanks to motion compensation technology. We were pleased to see how the texture of the turf remained sharp and clear. Other frame rate converters often lose detail of that type.”

Tomihisa added that J SPORTS was also pleased with the FRC-7000’s audio performance. “The host broadcaster provided surround sound, making support for Dolby E essential. In our production, we took advantage of the FRC-7000’s Dolby E encoding and decoding. Thus, we were able to keep the 5.1-channel surround component for our audiences in Japan.”

Tomihisa also praised the versatility of the FA-9000 signal processor. “Some SD content was included in local broadcasts—coverage pre and post matches,” he added. “We used the FA-9000 for upconversion to produce the HD content for Japan, which we then supplied to the FRC-7000 for frame rate conversion. Besides using the FA-9000 as an upconverter, we used it for color correction, A/D and D/A conversion, as well as audio processing. It’s extremely useful on location.”

Fujitsu’s IP-9500 HD video encoder/decoder provided video compression for transmission at lower bandwidths. On location, the video was compressed to a bit rate of 20 Mbps and transmitted using a bandwidth of 30 Mbps. It typically requires a bandwidth of 80 Mbps to broadcast transport streams of similar image quality.

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