Standards conversion

Changing the standard of existing television material that may involve two processes (four if going from and to analog coded systems such as PAL and NTSC). The two main processes are format conversion to change the spatial (horizontal and vertical) sizes of the pictures and changing the vertical scan rate – the number of pictures per second. For broadcast applications this needs to be completed while retaining the maximum possible fidelity of the input content. The re-sizing process involves the relatively straightforward task of spatial interpolation – spreading the information from the original pixel array over a different pixel structure. Note that the crude method of dropping or repeating lines/pixels will give very poor results and the detail of the interpolation process used is important for best results.

The second process is far more complex as, changing the number of frames or fields per second (temporal conversion) means creating new ones or removing some – preferably without upsetting any movement shown in the pictures, so simply repeating or dropping fields or frames will not do. For this the movement within the pictures has to be analyzed so that ‘in-between’ pictures can be synthesized. This is a very specialized area and there are highly developed techniques used on the best modern standards converters that do this very well, but never perfectly.

See also: Format (conversion), Frame-rate conversion