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Success Story - Hamburg Planetarium

TV One's Switcher/Scaler provides Seamless Solution for 3D Simulation at Hamburg Planetarium

The Hamburg Planetarium is not only one of the oldest Planetariums around the world, but also one of the finest, with a complex multimedia setup that includes the most advanced laser and lightshow system in the world. It attracts around 350,000 visitors each year, making it one of the most successful amongst all German Planetariums to date.

Beside the Carl Zeiss "Universarium IX" Star Projector, the Hamburg Planetarium owns an ultra modern, server-based, interactive and real-time, 3D simulation system called Digistar4. Based on a modular PC cluster array, developed by Evans & Sutherland, it is an integrated system of dom rendering video playback of real-time astronomy data and digital surround audio. The Digistar4 System redelivers video content on 8 synchronized hi-definition DVI Outputs each with a resolution of 2048x1080p that are projected on to the ceiling giving a totally immersive experience for visitors from all around the world.

Alongside the Digistar4 System, a second PC cluster from Swedish Company SCISS, is employed to run a Uniview System called a "GeoScience Cluster", a 3D real-time simulation software to present Geographic, Earth and Space Science. As well as the obvious benefit of visitor appeal for these new system investments, they also allow for the visualizing of world climate changes for educational purposes. Like the Digistar4 system, this SCISS Uniview system is also running on 8 PC´s with hi-definition DVI Outputs of 2048x1080p that are projected high above the audience to the ceiling overhead.

In 2009 the Hamburg Planetarium decided to replace the old projection system with 2 new Sony SXR-T110 projectors each with 11.000 Lumen. In order to feed the 8 DVI outputs from both PC clusters into the two Sony 4K projectors, a way of switching between the 2 server clusters with a smooth cross-fade while staying in sync was needed.

The answer came with the TV One 1T-C2-750 Dual Channel DVI Scaler, one of the most cost-effective Dual Channel DVI-I Scalers on the Market that employs TV One´s unique CORIO®2 technology that allows Genlocking, Seamless Switching incl. smooth cross-fades and other transitions with variable timing, plus full 2K resolution support.

The Genlock function of the 1T-C2-750 allows for all 8 units to run in perfect synchronicity which is a vital requirement for this application. It enables all of the 1T-C2-750 units to perform various functions, such as switching between sources, at precisely the exact moment as each other without any delay or timing issues.

Two of the 1T-C2-750 units from TV One are also being used in conjunction with two large DVI touch screen monitors within the auditorium that are used by operators to run the demonstrations for public audiences. Darkness within the auditorium of a planetarium is hugely important and it was found that the brightness levels of the monitors could not be decreased sufficiently. In order to resolve this, two small control boxes were built to control the fade level of two 1T-C2-750 units by RS-232 control, allowing the TV One units to switch from a video image to a completely black image using a fade to black command.

The 8 TV One 1T-C2-750 Scalers are powered by 2 TV One P2-105 Power Distribution systems, rackmounted near the PC clusters and controlled via RS-232 from a central Control Room.

Simon Böttcher, Technical Manager for the Hamburg Planetarium says, "The TV One Scalers have been an excellent choice as the units are reliable, support our high demands in signal quality and smooth cross-fades, and have a perfect price/performance ratio."

" I am very proud that our CORIO®2 Technology proves its quality and that we are able to provide an easily manageable solution for our client using the 1T-C2-750." says Frithjof Becker, the EMEA Sales Manager of TV One Ltd. "With a list price of just $995.00, no competitor product with similar features and signal quality comes near this. It was wonderful to be a part of this installation process and see the end result of full HD image quality of amazing video content."