By Doug Engstrom On May 05, 2010
Contemporary Research’s QMOD -HD Streamlines The Integration Of HDTV Broadband
COMPANY: Contemporary Research
HEADQUARTERS: Dallas, TX
SOLUTIONS: Contemporary Research responded to integrator demand
for a commercial-quality, cost-effective HDTV modulator to enable in-house HD cable
Starting several years ago, integrators repeatedly asked us for an alternative to
distribution of HD video over Cat-5 wire and ethernet. Their reasoning was that
cable TV broadcasts many channels of HD digital media over miles of standard coax
cable, and that Contemporary Research (CR) makes HDTV tuners and could control displays
over the RF. The logical conclusion would be for CR to create a commercial-quality,
cost-effective HDTV modulator to enable in-house HD cable networks. Sites can:
- Distribute HD video from HD satellite/cable boxes so that any HD display or tuner
could receive quality, open-access digital media.
- Broadcast digital signage
as an HDTV channel so that one PC could deliver signage to all displays in the system.
Insert any of the channels with existing cable feeds or “cut the cable” and create
a custom mix of media and signage channels.
At the Buffalo Wings
& Rings restaurant in Indianapolis, IN, Vinny Barber of AVI E-Consulting in
Orlando, FL integrated 10 Contemporary Research QMOD-HD-HD units to feed 54 TV monitors.
QMOD-HD is a solution for any site that needs to distribute a few channels of high-definition
content to many displays, and can take advantage of existing RF coax to carry the
media. Commercial QMOD-HD solutions are rapidly expanding at corporations, casinos,
sports venues, and churches around the country. In addition, QMOD-HD has also passed
the test for professional HD applications, including:
- The Ford Center (host to Oklahoma City’s Thunder NBA team) is using QMOD-HD to broadcast
their house channels, fed by their HD video system, taking the place of equipment
that would have cost $15,000 per channel.
- A rural cable company is delivering
HD channels to customers, using QMOD-HDs connected to Dish Network HD receivers
to feed their Motorola commercial cable head end.
- The Winnipeg, Canada airport
is using QMOD-HD to distribute data-driven signage to airport displays.
QMOD HDTV technology is opening new markets for AV systems integrators. Armed with
three options for media distribution—HDTV, Cat-5, and ethernet, integrators have
more choices to create new solutions.
QMOD-HD is an integrated HDTV modulator, consisting of several processes working
together. It ingests analog VGA, component, S-video, or composite video and converts
to digital video—the new QMOD-SDI, launched in May 2010, accepts HD/SD-SDI. Stereo,
digital coax, or optical audio inputs are fed to the HDTV encoder, and the latter
formats the digital video and audio into an MPEG-2 digital QAM IFF channel. An upconverter
mixes frequencies with the base IFF channel to broadcast as channel 2-135, and the
amplifier powers the channel up to 29 dB for distribution.
QMOD-HD is an integrated
HDTV modulator, consisting of several processes working together.
QMOD-HD accepts any video input that is in standard HDTV format, including 1080i,
720p, 480p, and 480i at 59.94 Hz vertical frequency. For non-standard HD sources
such as VGA, QMOD-HD is designed to work in tandem with a video scaler. There are
several reasons for this: The scaler can format VGA resolutions to true HDTV signals;
displays typically overscan HDTV video, so the scaler will often need to underscan
VGA to compensate; and because the encoder’s processor does not have to “fix” non-standard
video, the dual-processor approach delivers quality signage without motion artifacts,
correctly presented on displays.
QMOD-HD integration is fairly simple, and several variations can be found in CR’s
QMOD-HD Integration Tips publication on its website. As for distributing QMOD-HD
channels, the good news is that digital QMOD-HD channels work easily with all existing
cable distribution systems, even if they were designed in an analog era. In cases
where the client needs a display control system, CR’s Display Control is easy to
integrate, as it takes control of displays over the same RF coax that carries QMOD-HD
Given these solutions, AV integrators will likely find that HDTV distribution is
a natural extension for their business and their clients, and is easy to learn and
Doug Engstrom is technical director at Contemporary Research.