In December 2008, the University of California, San Diego, began a project to establish HD delivery — from legacy SD and new HD sources — to 32 new viewing stations for the University’s Arts Library Media Reserves Service. The stations would allow faculty and the UCSD Arts Library to continue using the library’s collection of more than 6,000 VHS titles and nearly 9,000 DVDs, as well as a growing collection of Blu-ray titles, as part of course curricula, and to display this content in the HD format that both faculty and students appreciate. The installation was to represent a significant improvement over the library’s previous system, which featured fewer stations equipped with small 13-inch and 21-inch SD screens. A key challenge to the project was high-end scaling and reliable HDMI delivery over long distances to the various viewing stations, without compromising image quality or video continuity. To achieve this, UCSD turned to Atlona Technologies.
For the Arts Library, UCSD is utilizing Atlona’s AT-LINE-PRO2 video scaler with HDMI output, and the AT-HD4-V40SRS HDMI 1.3 extender with 3D support. The AT-LINE-PRO2 behaves as a switcher and HDTV scaler, and it is able to output multiple resolutions so that the user can match native resolution to the display. Just one of these devices connects composite, S-video, component video, VGA (PC), and HDMI sources to one HDMI out. The Atlona AT-HD4-V40SRS extender is designed to handle full 1080p up to 130 feet and 1080i/720p up to 200 feet. The AT-HD4-V40SRS is capable of supporting very high bandwidth and therefore is able to handle all seven 3D formats. At the Arts Library, the AT-LINE-PRO2 switcher/scaler accepts composite, component, and HDMI sources, scaling and feeding the signal to the Atlona AT-HD4-V40SRS HDMI extender with remote control. The AT-HD4-V40SRS sender/receiver pair delivers the HDMI signal over Cat 6 cable to the viewing stations.
Responsive and extensive support from Atlona also was a key factor in the installation, and it proved fundamental to the success of the project. The type of Cat 6 cable purchased by the library was not the cabling anticipated by the internal technical team. To ensure that the end-to-end system would perform as required, Atlona purchased the same cable and performed testing on working models, sending the UCSD technical team prototypes and firmware updates designed to overcome issues of substandard quality and video dropout. Through this process, Atlona helped the UCSD team to identify power conditioning as the source of video issues, in turn enabling them to solve this problem by deploying power conditioning devices in the equipment racks at the library reserve desk and at each workstation. Atlona’s willingness to work closely with the library’s technical team was critical to overcoming this issue, and to doing so efficiently and cost-effectively.
UCSD’s system went online in January 2009. With the Atlona solutions in place, students can now watch assigned media on reserve at the library at new viewing stations, 30 of which are equipped with 27-inch Dell computer screens and two equipped with 37-inch Panasonic televisions. Media played out from VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray devices is switched and scaled transparently to provide the highest possible quality HD output. Students simply sit at a viewing station, initiate playout via the remote control unit, plug in their headphones, and watch assigned video.