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Chapter: Television and Video Engineering : Fundamentals of Television

Video Signal Dimensions

Figure shows the composite video signal details of three different lines each corresponding to a different brightness level of the scene. As illustrated there, the video signal is constrained to vary between certain amplitude limits.



Figure shows the composite video signal details of three different lines each corresponding to a different brightness level of the scene. As illustrated there, the video signal is constrained to vary between certain amplitude limits.


The level of the video signal when the picture detail being transmitted corresponds to the maximum whiteness to be handled, is referred to as peak-white level. This is fixed at 10 to 12.5 percent of the maximum value of the signal while the black level corresponds to approximately 72 percent.


The sync pulses are added at 75 percent level called the blanking level. The difference between the black level and blanking level is known as the ‘Pedestal’. However, in actual practice, these two levels, being very close, tend to merge with each other as shown in the figure.


Thus the picture information may vary between 10 percent to about 75 percent of the composite video signal depending on the relative brightness of the picture at any instant. The darker the picture the higher will be the voltage within those limits.


Note that the lowest 10 percent of the voltage range (whiter than white range) is not used to minimize noise effects. This also ensures enough margin for excessive bright spots to be accommodated without causing amplitude distortion at the modulator.


At the receiver the picture tube is biased to ensure that a received video voltage corresponding to about 10 percent modulation yields complete whiteness at that particular point on the screen, and an analogous arrangement is made for the black level.


Besides this, the television receivers are provided with ‘brightness’ and ‘contrast’ controls to enable the viewer to make final adjustments as he thinks fit.

D.C. component of the video signal.


In addition to continuous amplitude variations for individual picture elements, the video signal has an average value or dc component corresponding to the average brightness of the scene.


In the absence of dc component the receiver cannot follow changes in brightness, as the ac camera signal, say for grey picture elements on a black background will then be the same as a signal for white area on a grey back-ground.


In Fig, dc components of the signal for three lines have been identified, each representing a different level of average brightness in the scene. It may be noted that the break shown in the illustration after each line signal is to emphasize that dc component of the video signal is the average value for complete frames rather than lines since the background information of the picture indicates the brightness of the scene.


Thus Fig. illustrates the concept of change in the average brightness of the scene with the help of three lines in separate frames because the average brightness can change only from frame to frame and not from line to line.


Pedestal height.


As noted in Fig the pedestal height is the distance between the pedestal level and the average value (dc level) axis of the video signal. This indicates average brightness since it measures how much the average value differs from the black level.


Even when the signal loses its dc value when passed through a capacitor-coupled circuit the distance between the pedestal and the dc level stays the same and thus it is convenient to use the pedestal level as the reference level to indicate average brightness of the scene.


Setting the pedestal level.


The output signal from the TV camera is of very small amplitude and is passed through several stages of ac coupled high gain amplifiers before being coupled to a control amplifier.


Here sync pulses and blanking pulses are added and then clipped at the correct level to form the pedestals. Since the pedestal height determines the average brightness of the scene, any smaller value than the correct one will make the scene darker while a larger Pedestal height will result in higher average brightness.


The video control operator who observes the scene at the studio sets the level for the desired brightness in the reproduced picture which he is viewing on a monitor receiver. This is known as dc insertion because this amounts to adding a dc component to the ac signal.


Once the dc insertion has been accomplished the pedestal Level becomes the black reference and the pedestal height indicates correct relative brightness for the reproduced picture. However, the dc level inserted in the control amplifier is usually Lost in succeeding stages because of capacitive coupling, but still the correct dc component can

be reinserted when necessary because the pedestal height remains the same.

The blanking pulses.


The composite video signal contains blanking pulses to make the retrace lines invisible by raising the signal amplitude slightly above the black level (75 percent) during the time the scanning circuits produce retraces.


As illustrated in Fig. the composite video signal contains horizontal and vertical blanking pulses to blank the corresponding retrace intervals. The repetition rate of horizontal blanking pulses is therefore equal to the line scanning frequency of 15625 Hz.


Similarly the frequency of the vertical blanking pulses is equal to the field-scanning frequency of 50 Hz. It may be noted that though the level of the blanking pulses is distinctly above the picture signal information, these are not used as sync pulses.


The reason is that any occasional signal corresponding to any extreme black portion in the picture may rise above the blanking level and might conceivably interfere with the synchronization of the scanning generators.


Therefore, the sync pulses, specially designed for triggering the sweep oscillators are placed in the upper 25 per cent (75 per cent to 100 per cent of the carrier amplitude) of the video signal, and are transmitted along with the picture signal.

Sync pulse and video signal amplitude ratio.


The overall arrangement of combining the picture signal and sync pulses may be thought of as a kind of voltage division multiplexing where about 65 per cent of the carrier amplitude is occupied by the video signal and the upper 25 per cent by the sync pulses.


Thus, as shown in Fig. 3.1, the final radiated signal has a picture to sync signal ratio (P/S) equal to 10/4.


This ratio has been found most satisfactory because if the picture signal amplitude is increased at the expense of sync pulses, then when the signal to noise ratio of the received signal falls, a point is reached when the sync pulse amplitude becomes insufficient to keep the picture locked even though the picture voltage is still of adequate amplitude to yield an acceptable picture.


On the other hand if sync pulse height is increased at the expense of the picture detail, then under similar conditions the raster remains locked but the picture content is of too low an amplitude to set up a worthwhile picture.

A ratio of P/S = 10/4, or thereabout, results in a situation such that when the signal to noise ratio reaches a certain low level, the sync amplitude becomes insufficient, i.e., the sync fails at the same time as the picture ceases to be of entertainment value. This represents the most efficient use of the television system


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