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Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

1.What is Hi-Vision?
Hi-Vision is a nickname for High Definition Television (HDTV), which refers to high-resolution picture that looks almost as fine as vision through the naked eye.
2.What is terrestrial digital broadcasting?
Terrestrial digital television broadcasting is a digital-type television broadcast that is transmitted via land-based (terrestrial) wireless stations. It is often abbreviated as "Chi-Deji" in Japanese. Analog television broadcasting is scheduled to be terminated by July 24, 2011, as provided by the Revision of the Radio Law in 2001.
3.What is the difference between HD and SD?
HD is an abbreviation of High Definition and refers to high definition television picture with an aspect ratio of 16:9 (horizontal: vertical). SD is abbreviation of Standard Definition and refers to standard definition television picture with an aspect ratio of 4:3 (horizontal: vertical). Compared to digital camera picture quality, HD would be equivalent to about 2.1 Mega pixels whereas SD would be equivalent to about 0.35 Mega pixels, which shows the high picture quality of HD.
4.What is MPEG-2 and JPEG2000?
MPEG-2 and JPEG2000 are names of standards for compressing digital video and digital audio streams. Currently, MPEG-2 is widely used from SDTV to HDTV. New standards such as MPEG-4 (AVC) and H.264 are also being used recently. For your information, terrestrial digital broadcasting uses MPEG-2, while JPEG2000 is used in digital cinema (movie) applications.

Questions related to video transport

1.Can I transport video from an HDV Camera™ over IP?
Yes. By using Frontiers HD x1394 series IP Gateway, video stream from an HDV Camera™ can be directly transmitted over IP networks. Real-time, live telecast over IP networks is possible by directly plugging into the IEEE1394 terminal (i-link terminal) on the HDV Camera™. Error correction function called FEC provides protection against potential packet losses that may occur in IP network. This means that anyone with broadband environment can start a live telecast of broadcast-quality HD video using a Frontiers HD x1394 series IP Gateway, which can be received and played through a dedicated receiver. PC software is also available from Frontiers so that you can directly view live telecast of HD video feed from the HDV Camera™ on your PC monitor.
2.What do I need to transport video over IP?
Before connecting to IP networks (Internet, etc.), you will need an encoder for compressing (encoding) video and audio signals, and a decoder for decompressing (decoding) the compressed video and audio signals. Then you will need IP gateways for sending and receiving the compressed video and audio signals through IP networks. In other words, an encoder and an IP gateway are needed on the transmitting side and a decoder and an IP gateway are needed on the receiving side. Another important element is a broadband line connecting the transmitting side and the receiving side. In broadband Internet connection, packet loss (drop) will occur almost inevitably. The fact is, it is very difficult to transport 100% of video and audio data over the Internet. Packet losses will result in awful degradations and interruptions in both picture and sound. To prevent this, you need IP gateways equipped with "error correction function," which automatically restores lost (dropped) packets. Needless to say, IP gateways from Frontiers Co. are fully equipped with powerful error correction functions and their performances have been proven at broadcasting stations.
3.In IP transport over the Internet, wouldn’t video and audio be disrupted by packet loss and other faults?
FEC function is effective in restoring data lost by the packet loss in real time. Unlike data transport, there is no time to resend lost packets in real-time transport of video and audio streams. Thus, video and audio will be disrupted. However, FEC function will automatically restore and repair lost video and audio data by collecting and calculating the data contained in packets preceding and following the lost packet.
Equipment supplied by Frontiers feature FECs that are compliant with "Pro-MPEG FEC COP#3" standard, which is an industry standard supported by many enterprises around the world as the future global standard. Some equipment are equipped with Frontiers’ original FEC, which is a highly reliable, high-performance FEC that has a proven track record in international video transport with broadcast stations around the world, as evidenced by IP transport of video materials for the 2004 Torino Winter Olympic Games.
4.What is FEC?
FEC, which stands for Forward Error Correction, is a technology to restore lost packets in real time. Anticipating packet losses over IP networks, FEC adds redundant packets to the original packet streams on the transmitting side so that lost packets can be restored on the receiving side without delay. FEC enables broadcast-quality video and audio transport and contents distribution over IP networks. In other words, FEC function automatically restores lost video and audio data by collecting and calculating data contained in packets preceding and following the lost packet.
For your information, packet losses that occur consecutively or in bursts (burst packet loss) present far more serious problems than packet losses that occur sporadically and individually. Thus, one of the key performance parameters of FEC is the ability to counter this burst packet loss. FECs that are compliant with the "Pro-MPEG FEC COP#3" standard can restore up to 254 consecutive packets in theory, but this number is currently limited to 16 packets (in normal configuration) to ensure interconnectivity between different IP gateways. State-of-the-art original FEC supplied by Frontiers can be configured to restore up to 4,000 consecutive packets. At Frontiers these operational parameters are preset prior to shipping the product, based on operating conditions supplied by the customer, so that the customer may use the equipment right away without going through troublesome setups.
5.What is clock transfer?
Video and audio signals must be played precisely at predetermined time-intervals; otherwise video and audio will appear or sound unnatural or awkward. To prevent this, timing signal is transmitted together with compressed video/audio data, but "clocks" on both the transmitting side and the receiving side need to be synchronized. In other words, a common timing signal must be shared by both sides. However, such a scheme is not feasible in IP networks such as the Internet. For example, it will be a problem if a program that is 30 minutes long according to the internal clock on the transmitting side plays for 31 minutes according to clock on the receiving side. It will also be a problem if the program plays for 30 minutes in total on the reception side, but certain scenes play slower or faster than normal. It is impossible to directly connect both sides with a long electric wire for sharing a clock signal.
To solve this problem, Frontiers has a unique technology called "clock transfer function." Some models in our IP gateway series feature the world’s only commercialized clock transfer function that works in IP networks such as the Internet. Clock transfer function is a vital technology in transporting high-quality video and audio streams.
6.I have heard that IP transport of video requires relatively high capacity broadband lines because transmission speeds (bit rates) tend to vary over IP. Is this true?
You are probably referring to what is known as"“IP burst" problem. It is true that signals may be transmitted at enormous bit rates at certain instants, regardless of spec or average transmission speed. One report has noted that "peak (instantaneous) transmission speed reached 160Mbps, although the average was only about 12 Mbps." In such a case, even a 20Mbps broadband line may not be sufficient to ensure high-quality video transmission specified at 12Mbps.
There is no need to worry. Frontiers’ IP gateways are equipped with a Traffic Shaper function, which is a mechanism that "reshapes" the variance in traffic loads to ensure efficient use of available bandwidth.
7.Do you have any equipment that can be easily used to transport live video stream over the Internet, but not as extravagant as HDTV equipment?
We have an easy-to-use, video-over-IP device, "MPEG2+4 IP Codec," which comes in a ultra-compact sub-B6 size (172mm×105mm). Various parameters can be preset based on information provided by customer. All you need to do is connect the video and audio ports of your camera or VCR, Internet port and power supply adaptor to an MPEG2+4 IP Codec on the transmitting side, and the device will automatically start transmitting without even pressing a button. Similarly, an MPEG2+4 IP Codec on the receiving side will automatically go to standby mode.
Needless to say, this device is fully equipped with a Forward Error Correction function that is compliant with the "Pro-MPEG FEC COP#3" standard. An upgraded version of MPEG2+4 IP Codec is capable of two-way IP transport, which means that transmission and reception can be simultaneously performed in real time with just one "box."
8."IP transport" sounds rather troublesome, such as procuring lines, devices, etc.
Please leave it to Frontiers. We will simply deliver a video transport system to the customer, including line service arrangements. As a pioneer in advanced video-over-IP transport systems, Frontiers has a wealth of knowledge, experience and know-how in supplying equipment to major broadcast stations and communication companies as well as participating in leading-edge experiments and validations. Please feel free to contact us for inquiries and consultation.

Miscellaneous questions

1.Can I buy Frontiers’ products outside of Japan?
It depends on the product or the country where it is purchased. Please contact us for details.
2.For products sold outside of Japan, do you require payment in yen?
Yes, we basically require payment in yen. Please inquire contact us if you prefer payment in currencies other than yen.
3.How long is the typical lead time of your products?
We normally ask for 1 to 2 months, although it depends on the product and inventory status at the time of order. Please inquire the actual delivery time when placing an order.
4.Do you undertake construction of video distribution networks?
Yes, we do. Frontiers provides a wide range of products and services, from network lines inside and outside Japan to various equipment related to video transport.

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