HDTV's Rosetta Stone

As HDTV slowly rolls out across the US, more and more consumers are finding that those simple days of common connectors and out-of-the-box compatible equipment are now over. What many unsuspecting consumer electronics buyers are now discovering that not all HDTV equipment is configured to the same operating standards.

Key Digital Systems says it is here to help and announced last week that it is putting an end to potential HDTV disappointment. The company explains that mixing brands—for example, hooking a Panasonic DVD player to a Mitsubishi set-top box—might not yield the high quality HDTV images consumers expect. "It has nothing to do with the quality of the equipment," says the company. "The fact is, even same-brand equipment doesn't always speak the same digital language."

Key claims home theater customers can now purchase any brand of equipment and easily link them together, using the company's digital LEEZA device, which Key says is the first scaler/switcher combination to feature all-digital throughput for "artifact-free" HDTV/SDTV images, "regardless of the origin and format of the source material."

According to Key, LEEZA can link all SD/HD equipment, accept all world formats (PAL, SECAM, and NTSC), and output to any display type, including plasma displays, D-ILA, DLP, LCD, and CRT projectors, in addition to SDTV/HDTV monitors. The company says that by scaling with a proprietary "Clear Matrix" motion adaptive de-interlacing algorithm, the unit restores progressive scanning by taking into account vertical and temporal information from a SDTV 480i source signal.

Key says the device also scales between twelve different standard or four custom aspect ratios, switches to accept all SDTV video, and also sports three HDTV outputs. In addition, the company claims that LEEZA simultaneously converts two different HDTV video inputs to or from Component and RGBHV, switches multiple SD formats, and offers full compatibility with any SDI source. The company adds that three HD video inputs plus multi-format Digital Video Interface (DVI) output, in NTSC and PAL versions, enable integration of all video and audio sources.