Routers are used extensively in broadcast applications. They are often dedicated to the distribution of video, audio, or RF modulated signals for signal monitoring and analysis.
Routers consist of an input stage, crosspoint, and output stage. Most have the ability to direct any input to one or more output on a fully programmable basis. While enterprise-level routers offer the most inputs and outputs (they serve as the hub for the movement of video and audio within the production facility), Video routers are often designed to switch video that has been packetized as SDI, DisplayPort or HDMI video, or video that has been encapsulated in DVB-ASI, MPEG-2 (SMPTE ST 310), MPEG-4, SMPTE 2022 or IP data streams.
Production switchers are distinguished by the number inputs and outputs, control sections, image and audio processing capabilities and integration into the entire production workflow and library of content. They perform hard cuts between cameras, mixes between two videos, and keying operations. Video, graphics, and mattes are input to the production switcher where an operator can select them to go to the program output or to preview or multiviewer outputs. Production switchers also perform keying (compositing) operations where a source object (created from a green screen camera set-up, for example) is placed inside a different background graphic or video. This is typically done with content on a separate key bus in the M/E (Mix/Effects) section of the control panel, which can then be selected for the program output channel. Additional overlays in the form of text and graphics are typically inserted last in a downstream keying section on the outgoing program (clean feed). More sophisticated production switchers will have additional capabilities for auxiliary outputs, digital video effects (DVE) and more. Digital video effects include item such as resize, rotate, position and scale to create picture-in-picture or multi-layer outputs.
Other important features for a video production router/switcher include genlocking, switching of audio, local and remote control, direct output of video to monitors or multiviewers, and integration with a plant-wide control software management system. Furthermore, audio routers need to support digital AES audio or analog audio switching, plus conversion for A-to-D or D-to-A. Fiber optic input/output modules may also be needed for long distance distribution in the optical domain.
Intel® FPGAs are used to create the functionality and fabric of the router and switcher. Once the architecture is determined, the number of input and output nodes and processing requirements will often determine which FPGA is right for your application. For more information, read the product webpage or visit our Documentation webpage.
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