To briefly summarize: I am looking for a video conversion box that will accept any resolution/refresh rate/color space and split out a properly converted feed.

I utilize a hardware H.264 encoder/video switcher called the ATEM Television Studio for live-streaming company events. It's worked wonderfully for all intents and purposes, except it requires precise audio and video inputs.

For audio, I use a Behringer DEQ2496 to convert my audio into a usable AES/EBU digital signal and to provide an audio delay (when needed). Super useful.

For video, I have a laptop that sits at 720p and I've set a 59 refresh rate--and it is accepted as a 720p59.94 signal. As such, it requires any other video input be precisely 720p59.94.

In the past, I've requested A/V companies I've worked with to supply the video signal at precisely 720p59.94. This has caused some issues, the last conference we hosted I was barely able to get working (they had to find a spare video conversion box on-site, as the first box they were using did not give a correct signal).

I would like to take the A/V company out of the video conversion process and be able to accept any video input, and convert it. I would like to be able to accept both HDMI and SDI inputs of any resolution/refresh rate, and be able to convert that signal into something usable.

I am looking at a Blackmagic Broadcast Convertor, but the lack of documentation about it has me slightly concerned. I'm not very familiar with any non-Blackmagic solutions for this problem.

Does anyone have any familiarity with the above equipment, or have a similar piece of a equipment they've used for live, on-site video conversion?

1 Answer 1


That or the UpDownCross converter should meet your needs as long as the frame rates are the same. I'd personally stick with BlackMagic's hardware as you already have their ATEM and they make some of the most cost-effective hardware around. They aren't the top quality brand for sure, but you won't beat the value for the price pretty much anywhere else.

If you need to change the frame rate, you will need some kind of frame buffer that can interpolate on the fly, which is likely going to get pricy.

Alternately, is there a reason that you can't vary the output of the laptop to fit whatever quality is needed for the feed from the A/V company? This would avoid the need for a converter and seems to be the easier option. A better output for the laptop may well be a cheaper solution. The Intensity Shuttle for example is only $199 if you have a thunderbolt or USB 3 port.

  • The issue is more of taking the A/V company doing video conversion out of the loop. In one particular instance, the A/V company was running an NTSC signal over an SDI line to their video convertor, which supposedly was upconverting to 720p/59.94 and giving it back to us. I was getting no signal from this. Eventually a second box showed up, and it worked, but I'd like to just leave as little of their equipment in my setup as possible. The only workable signal I could get from them as NTSC
    – Mattc0m
    Jul 30, 2013 at 19:43
  • Basically, I can change the laptop output to anything from 1080p or 720p, 50 or 59.94, but it would still require conversion of the video signal. Even if it's just a possibility of getting a non-working signal from an A/V company, it's still a possibility I'd like to avoid.
    – Mattc0m
    Jul 30, 2013 at 19:44
  • @Mattc0m - the ATEM will support just about any standard format, NTSC, PAL, 720i/p, 1080i/p and on the 4k models, 4k. If you get any of these, you should be able to match the output of your laptop to it. The UpDownCross converter will work to upscale their resolution so you can send a higher quality feed. As far as frame rate, you'll get best results by matching their frame rate, even if it is more or less than you'd prefer, rather than interpolating unless the final output won't cleanly support that frame rate.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jul 30, 2013 at 19:53
  • I agree regarding the framerate, and I'm able to get the laptop to output to any of the ATEM Television Studio's supported HD resolutions (1080i50, 1080i59.94, 720p50, 720p59.94). 720p59.94 is just a preference. The issue more lines when I get an NTSC signal (525/29.97) that needs upconverted or if the video feed I'm getting is for some reason not working, I have video conversion that can take pretty much any video input and give me a workable output. The only issue w/ UpDownCross is it relies on SDI, and would like HDMI input/output as well (if we have a prosumer camera as a video input).
    – Mattc0m
    Jul 30, 2013 at 20:05
  • @Mattc0m ah yes, good point, missed that. I suppose that may make the broadcast converter a cheaper option than also getting the HDMI to SDI converter.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jul 30, 2013 at 20:12

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