StreamLabs ALPHA Plus PCI-E YUV with ALPHA Pro Software

StreamLabs ALPHA Plus PCI-E YUV with ALPHA Pro Software
Stream ALPHA Plus YUV PCI-E is designed to work with Composite or S-Video by-pass signal whether using PAL, SECAM or NTSC. It also has a separate RGB (YUV) + Key Component output on the board to work with computer graphics without mixing it with the video. Stream ALPHA Plus has all-digital image formation chain which guarantees perfect quality of generated signal and its better binding to the input signal.

The board overlays graphics over live video signal using alpha-channel that allows setting the transparency level of each pixel of the image and changing it while playing.

Stream ALPHA Plus PCI-E is equipped with internal synch generator that switches on automatically if the input signal is missing. If computer power supply is switched off or BYPASS mode is activated, the output is directly connected to the input through relay contacts, and 75 Ohm load on the board is disconnected. The board can overlay computer graphics over video signal whether inside itself or on the external mixer. To work with external mixer the board has a special KEY output. It is possible to switch on/off multiplication of generated image by alpha-channel.

In addition to the common for Stream ALPHA boards analog mixing performed without any delay, the board has digital mode that enables decoding of the input video signal. The decoding and subsequent coding delays the video signal (about 10 mks). Digital mixing makes it possible to change standards of output signal relative to input signal (PAL<->SECAM, CVBS<->S-Video). Besides, it allows decreasing requirements to the quality of input signal, keeping the high quality of output signal. Composite signal is decoded using color combine filter to divide brightness and chrominance.

The possibility of grabbing and hardware scaling of video signal from the board's inputs allows changing the size of incoming video and overlay titles in BY-PASS mode using minimal resources of central processor.

Due to the usage of PCI-Express bus on Stream ALPHA Plus Express, interface and board bandwidth enables overlaying full screen titles through alpha channel and grabbing input video signal at the same time.

All the graphics generated by the card passes through the active digital filter. It is possible to enable/disable the insertion of the sync into the "Green" signal of the component output and alpha-channel. Component YUV output and alpha-channel (Key) output allows working with the mixer, that has appropriate input and DSK input.


Character Generation program Alpha Pro 2.0, which operates in Windows XP/Vista/7 environment, is designed for titling, creating interactive programs, telephone voting on-air, displaying blocks of commercials, and design of live television programs, such as: news, weather forecasts, sports reports, talk shows, etc. Alpha Pro 2.0 combines many years of engineering experience and current professional video production requirements.

Concerning the possibilities of artistic design, the limit is only the artist's imagination; any fonts, three-dimensional shadows, semitransparent masks, textures, complex multilayer compositions, animation, etc. can be employed.

Program features:

- TV-program titling while editing or on the air, manually or in automatic mode;
- Text and graphic information display in form of crawl and roll;
- TV-channel / program static or dynamic logo display;
- Automated time or temperature display;
- Telephone voting results broadcast;
- Any kind of analog or digital clocks generation and display;
- Informational and graphic design of interactive talk-shows, news and sports reports;
- Animations and logos playback;
- Cyclic playback of scripts;
- Multilayered graphic windows for incoming information display.

High quality and ease of Character Generation:

- Using all available Windows TrueType fonts;
- Symbols and tickers design with complex 3D-shades, borders, outlines and borders;
- Using text processors and graphic editing programs principles;
- Fonts with random direction gradients, textures including images in JPEG, BMP and TGA 32-bit formats;
- Anti-aliasing broadcasting rasterization quality;
- Line interlacing flicker filter;
- Placing logos as symbols in crawls;
- Using 16.7 million colours and 256 transparency levels to fill any page element.

Usability and efficiency:

- Edit and hold in readiness several scripts simultaneously;
- Classical Windows program interface and WISIWYG mode;
- Instant title output by using prepared scripts (templates).

Wide range of linear effects:

Script consists of an unlimited number of pages; every page has a video effect assigned to it.

Alpha Pro 2.0 uses the following effects:
- Vertical Roll - text that runs vertically from bottom to top;
- Horizontal Crawl - "endless" page of random height and length that runs horizontally from left to right;
- Reveal Up / Reveal Left - horizontal and vertical slide-ins;
- Animated logos and clips playback as an individual effect, or as a part of titles block;
- Fade In / Fade Out / Cross Fade - smooth transition effects;
- Zoom - scaling effect;
- Near 300 kinds of Wipes with transition softness settings.

All effects can be displayed on full screen or in any specified rectangular area. All effects have speed, duration, delay, timing or external events control settings.

Extended program features:

Alpha Pro 2.0 supports objects control from external applications, including programs developed by the user. These programs can use VBA scripts from Microsoft Office suite, including Word, Excel and Access scripts, Visual Basic based programs, Web-page, which contain VBScript, and also Delphi Visual C++ based programs.

This method allows to eliminate all possible accidents in on-air broadcasting, while leaving only the necessary functions. While writing the script in a precise way and preparing the templates, the user can rigorously specify the design style and effects. This way the user gets a custom "control panel" without irrelevant and distracting control elements.

Program design is put together in a form of a template. Operational data is placed into the template directly at the time of output. This helps to use the current system in the design of on-air sports transmissions, game shows, etc. The same approach allows to broadcast telephone votes, SMS-chats, etc.


Recommended computer configuration:

- Computer IBM PC on Intel processor: Pentium D or Pentium Core 2 DUO;
- Not less than 512 Mb of main memory;
- At least 50 Mb of free space on hard drive;
- Operating system Windows XP/Vista/7. Any graphical working mode in Windows environment with resolution 1024x768 pixels High Color (16 bit) and more.


In the Box

- Stream ALPHA Plus YUV PCI-E Board;
- Breakout Cable RGB/YUV+Key out, Composite Preview out;
- USB software protection dongle;
- CD-disk with software and demo;
- Software user manual in hard copy and on CD-disk in PDF-format.


Reviewed by 1 Customers
Rating: 4.0
VCG as DSK in an OB van
Rating: 4.0
By from Australia on
As a basic VCG it works very well, you get what you pay for, a chyron or the like will cost 10 times as much.
The output is clean and crisp and meets broadcast standards.
As an on-air tool it is very user friendly and quick.
An experienced DA used it live to after only getting basic instructions.
The down side is the kerning of text, it is very limited and clunky. You can't recall a group of supers, only one at a time.
Any graphics used as background have to be stored in the same folder as the completed page.
The instruction manual does not translate well into English.
Adjustments for H timing and video levels are not available.
You will find full screen graphics have a small see through area left and top of frame.
This is the second unit purcahsed, the first has been faultless for the last 2 years and is still in use 6 days per week.

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