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Serial digital interface (SDI) is a family of digital video interfaces first standardized by SMPTE (The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) in 1989.[1][2] For example, ITU-R BT.656 and SMPTE 259M define digital video interfaces used for broadcast-grade video. A related standard, known as high-definition serial digital interface (HD-SDI), is standardized in SMPTE 292M; this provides a nominal data rate of 1.485 Gbit/s.[3]

Additional SDI standards have been introduced to support increasing video resolutions (HD, UHD and beyond), frame rates, stereoscopic (3D) video, and color depth. Dual link HD-SDI consists of a pair of SMPTE 292M links, standardized by SMPTE 372M in 1998;[2] this provides a nominal 2.970 Gbit/s interface used in applications (such as digital cinema or HDTV 1080P) that require greater fidelity and resolution than standard HDTV can provide. 3G-SDI (standardized in SMPTE 424M) consists of a single 2.970 Gbit/s serial link that allows replacing dual link HD-SDI. 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI standards were published on March 19, 2015.[4][5]

These standards are used for transmission of uncompressed, unencrypted digital video signals (optionally including embedded audio and time code) within television facilities; they can also be used for packetized data. SDI is used to connect together different pieces of equipment such as recorders, monitors, PCs and vision mixers. Coaxial variants of the specification range in length but are typically less than 300 meters (980 ft). Fiber optic variants of the specification such as 297M allow for long-distance transmission limited only by maximum fiber length or repeaters. SDI and HD-SDI are usually available only in professional video equipment because various licensing agreements restrict the use of unencrypted digital interfaces, such as SDI, prohibiting their use in consumer equipment. Several professional video and HD-video capable DSLR cameras and all uncompressed video capable consumer cameras use the HDMI interface, often called clean HDMI. There are various mod kits for existing DVD players and other devices, which allow a user to add a serial digital interface to these devices.[citation needed]

Electrical interface

Standard Name Introduced Bitrates Example video formats
SMPTE 259M SD-SDI 1989[2] 270 Mbit/s, 360 Mbit/s, 143 Mbit/s, and 177 Mbit/s 480i, 576i
SMPTE 344M ED-SDI 2000[8] 540 Mbit/s 480p, 576p
SMPTE 292M HD-SDI 1998[2] 1.485 Gbit/s, and 1.485/1.001 Gbit/s 720p, 1080i
SMPTE 372M Dual Link HD-SDI 2002[2] 2.970 Gbit/s, and 2.970/1.001 Gbit/s 1080p60
SMPTE 424M 3G-SDI 2006[2] 2.970 Gbit/s, and 2.970/1.001 Gbit/s 1080p60
SMPTE ST 2081 6G-SDI 2015[4] 6 Gbit/s 1080p120, 2160p30
SMPTE ST 2082 12G-SDI 2015[5] 12 Gbit/s 2160p60
SMPTE ST 2083 24G-SDI In development[9][10] 24 Gbit/s 2160p120, 4320p30

Bit rates

Several bit rates are used in serial digital video signal:

  • For standard definition applications, as defined by SMPTE 259M, the possible bit rates are 270 Mbit/s, 360 Mbit/s, 143 Mbit/s, and 177 Mbit/s. 270 Mbit/s is by far the most commonly used; though the 360 Mbit/s interface (used for widescreen standard definition) is sometimes encountered. The 143 and 177 Mbit/s interfaces were intended for transmission of composite-encoded (NTSC or PAL) video digitally, and are now considered obsolete.
  • For enhanced definition applications (mainly 525P), there are several 540 Mbit/s interfaces defined, as well as an interface standard for a dual-link 270 Mbit/s interface. These are rarely encountered.
  • For HDTV applications, the serial digital interface is defined by SMPTE 292M. Two bit rates are defined, 1.485 Gbit/s, and 1.485/1.001 Gbit/s. The factor of 1/1.001 is provided to allow SMPTE 292M to support video formats with frame rates of 59.94 Hz, 29.97 Hz, and 23.98

    Uncompressed digital component signals are transmitted. Data is encoded in NRZI format, and a linear feedback shift register is used to scramble the data to reduce the likelihood that long strings of zeroes or ones will be present on the interface. The interface is self-synchronizing and self-clocking. Framing is done by detection of a special synchronization pattern, which appears on the (unscrambled) serial digital signal to be a sequence of ten ones followed by twenty zeroes (twenty ones followed by forty zeroes in HD); this bit pattern is not legal anywhere else within the data payload.

    Several bit rates are used in serial digital video signal:

    • For standard definition applications, as defined by SMPTE 259M, the possible bit rates are 270 Mbit/s, 360 Mbit/s, 143 Mbit/s, and 177 Mbit/s. 270 Mbit/s is by far the most commonly used; though the 360 Mbit/s interface (used for widescreen standard definition) is sometimes encountered. The 143 and 177 Mbit/s interfaces were intended for transmission of composite-encoded (NTSC or PAL) video digitally, and are now considered obsolete.
    • For enhanced definition applications (mainly 525P), there are several 540 Mbit/s interfaces defined, as well as an interface standard for a dual-link 270 Mbit/s interface. These are rarely encountered.
    • For HDTV applications, the serial digital interface is defined by SMPTE 292M. Two bit rates are defined, 1.485 Gbit/s, and 1.485/1.001 Gbit/s. The factor of 1/1.001 is provided to allow SMPTE 292M to support video formats with frame rates of 59.94 Hz, 29.97 Hz, and 23.98 Hz, in order to be compatible with existing NTSC systems. The 1.485 Gbit/s version of the standard supports other frame rates in widespread use, including 60 Hz, 50 Hz, 30 Hz, 25 Hz, and 24 Hz. It is common to collectively refer to both standards as using a nominal bit rate of 1.5 Gbit/s.
    • For very high-definition applications, requiring greater resolution, frame rate, or color fidelity than the HD-SDI interface can provide, the SMPTE 372M standard defines the dual link interface. As the name suggests, this interface consists of two SMPTE 292M interconnects operating in parallel. In particular, the dual link interface supports 10-bit, 4:2:2, 1080P formats at frame rates of 60 Hz, 59.94 Hz, and 50 Hz, as well as 12-bit color depth, RGB encoding, and 4:4:4 colour sampling.
    • A nominal 3 Gbit/s interface (more accurately, 2.97 Gbit/s, but commonly referred to as "3 gig") was standardized by SMPTE as 424M in 2006. Revised in 2012 as SMPTE ST 424:2012, it supports all of the features supported by the dual 1.485 Gbit/s interface, but requires only one cable rather than two.

    Other interfaces

    SMPTE 297-2006 defines an optical fiber system for transmitting bit-serial digital signals It is intended for transmitting SMPTE ST 259 signals (143 through 360 Mbit/s), SMPTE ST 344 signals (540 Mbit/s), SMPTE ST 292-1/-2 signals (1.485 Gbit/s and 1.485/1.001 Gbit/s) and SMPTE ST 424 signals (2.970 Gbit/s and 2.970/1.001 Gbit/s). In addition to optical specification, ST 297 also mandates laser safety testing and that all optical interfaces are labelled to indicate safety compliance, application and interoperability.[11]

    An 8-bit parallel digital interface is defined by ITU-R Rec. 601; this is obsolete (however, many clauses in the various standards accommodate the possibility of an 8-bit interface).

    Data format

    In SD and ED applications, the serial data format is defined to 10 bits wide, whereas in HD applications, it is 20 bits wide, divided into two parallel 10-bit datastreams (known as Y and C). The SD datastream is arranged like this:

    Cb Y Cr Y' Cb Y Cr Y'

    whereas the HD datastreams are arranged like this:

    Y
    Y Y' Y Y' Y Y' Y Y'
    C
    Cb Cr Cb Cr Cb Cr Cb Cr

    For all serial digital interfaces (excluding the obsolete composite encodings), the native color encoding is 4:2:2 YCbCr format. The luminance channel (Y) is encoded at full bandwidth (13.5 MHz in 270 Mbit/s SD, ~75 MHz in HD), and the two chrominance channels (Cb and Cr) are subsampled horizontally, and encoded at half bandwidth (6.75 MHz or 37.5 MHz). The Y, Cr, and Cb samples are co-sited (acquired at the same instance in time), and the Y' sample is acquired at the time halfway between two adjacent Y samples.

    In the above, Y refers to luminance samples, and C to chrominance samples. Cr and Cb further refer to the red and blue "color difference" channels; see Component Video for more information. This section only discusses the native color encoding of SDI; other color encodings are possible by treating the interface as a generic 10-bit data channel. The use of other colorimetry encodings, and the conversion to and from RGB colorspace, is discussed below.

    Video payload (as well as ancillary data payload) may use any 10-bit word in the range 4 to 1,019 (00416 to 3FB16) inclusive; the values 0–3 and 1,020–1,023 (3FC16–3FF16) are reserved and may not appear anywhere in the payload. These reserved words have two purposes; they are used both for Synchronization packets and for Ancillary data headers.

    Synchronization packets[An 8-bit parallel digital interface is defined by ITU-R Rec. 601; this is obsolete (however, many clauses in the various standards accommodate the possibility of an 8-bit interface).

    In SD and ED applications, the serial data format is defined to 10 bits wide, whereas in HD applications, it is 20 bits wide, divided into two parallel 10-bit datastreams (known as Y and C). The SD datastream is arranged like this:

    Cb Y Cr Y' Cb Y Cr Y'

    whereas the HD datastreams are arranged like this:

    Y
    Y Y' Y Y' Y Y' Y Y'
    C
    Cb Cr Cb Cr Cb Cr Cb Cr

    For all serial digital interfaces (excluding the obsolete composite encodings),

    whereas the HD datastreams are arranged like this:

    Y
    Y Y' Y Y' Y Y' Y Y'For all serial digital interfaces (excluding the obsolete composite encodings), the native color encoding is 4:2:2 YCbCr format. The luminance channel (Y) is encoded at full bandwidth (13.5 MHz in 270 Mbit/s SD, ~75 MHz in HD), and the two chrominance channels (Cb and Cr) are subsampled horizontally, and encoded at half bandwidth (6.75 MHz or 37.5 MHz). The Y, Cr, and Cb samples are co-sited (acquired at the same instance in time), and the Y' sample is acquired at the time halfway between two adjacent Y samples.

    In the above, Y refers to luminance samples, and C to luminance samples, and C to chrominance samples. Cr and Cb further refer to the red and blue "color difference" channels; see Component Video for more information. This section only discusses the native color encoding of SDI; other color encodings are possible by treating the interface as a generic 10-bit data channel. The use of other colorimetry encodings, and the conversion to and from RGB colorspace, is discussed below.

    Video payload (as well as ancillary data payload) may use any 10-bit word in the range 4 to 1,019 (00416 to 3FB16) inclusive; the values 0–3 and 1,020–1,023 (3FC16–3FF16) are reserved and may not appear anywhere in the payload. These reserved words have two purposes; they are used both for Synchronization packets and for Ancillary data headers.

    A synchronization packet (commonly known as the timing reference signal or TRS) occurs immediately before the first active sample on every line, and immediately after the last active sample (and before the start of the horizontal blanking region). The synchronization packet consists of four 10-bit words, the first three words are always the same—0x3FF, 0, 0; the fourth consists of 3 flag bits, along with an error correcting code. As a result, there are 8 different synchronization packets possible.

    In the HD-SDI and dual link interfaces, synchronization packets must occur simultaneously in both the Y and C datastreams. (Some delay between the two cables in a dual link interface is permissible; equipment which supports dual link is expected to buffer the leading link in order to allow the other link to catch up). In SD-SDI and enhanced definit

    In the HD-SDI and dual link interfaces, synchronization packets must occur simultaneously in both the Y and C datastreams. (Some delay between the two cables in a dual link interface is permissible; equipment which supports dual link is expected to buffer the leading link in order to allow the other link to catch up). In SD-SDI and enhanced definition interfaces, there is only one datastream, and thus only one synchronization packet at a time. Other than the issue of how many packets appear, their format is the same in all versions of the serial-digital interface.

    The flags bits found in the fourth word (commonly known as the XYZ word) are known as H, F, and V. The H bit indicates the start of horizontal blank; and synchronization bits immediately preceding the horizontal blanking region must have H set to one. Such packets are commonly referred to as End of Active Video, or EAV packets. Likewise, the packet appearing immediately before the start of the active video has H set to 0; this is the Start of Active Video or SAV packet.

    Likewise, the V bit is used to indicate the start of the vertical blanking region; an EAV packet with V=1 indicates the following line (lines are deemed to start at EAV) is part of the vertical interval, an EAV packet with V=0 indicates the following line is part of the active picture.

    The F bit is used in interlaced and segmented-frame formats to indicate whether the line comes from the first or second field (or segment). In progressive scan formats, the F bit is always set to zero.

    In the high definition serial digital interface (and in dual-link HD), additional check words are provided to increase the robustness of the interface. In these formats, the four samples immediately following the EAV packets (but not the SAV packets) contain a cyclic redundancy check field, and a line count indicator. The CRC field provides a CRC of the preceding line (CRCs are computed independently for the Y and C streams), and can be used to detect bit errors in the interface. The line count field indicates the line number of the current line.

    The CRC and line counts are not provided in the SD and ED interfaces. Instead, a special ancillary data packet known as an EDH packet may be optionally used to provide a CRC check on the data.

    Line and sample numbering

    Several color encodings are possi

    Several color encodings are possible in the serial digital interface. The default (and most common case) is 10-bit linearly sampled video data encoded as 4:2:2 YCbCr. (YCbCr is a digital representation of the YPbPr colorspace). Samples of video are stored as described above. Data words correspond to signal levels of the respective video components, as follows:

    • The luma (Y) channel is defined such that a signal level of 0 mV is assigned the codeword 64 (40 hex), and 700 millivolts (full scale) is assigned the codeword 940 (3AC hex) .
    • For the chroma channels, 0 mV is assigned the code word 512 (200 hex), -350 mV is assigned a code word of 64 (40 hex), and +3

      Note that the scaling of the luma and chroma channels is not identical. The minimum and maximum of these ranges represent the preferred signal limits, though the video payload may venture outside these ranges (providing that the reserved code words of 0 - 3 and 1020 - 1023 are never used for video payload). In addition, the corresponding analog signal may have excursions further outside of this range.

      Colorimetry

      As YPbPr (and YCbCr) are both derived from the As YPbPr (and YCbCr) are both derived from the RGB colorspace, a means of converting is required. There are three colorimetries typically used with digital video:

      • SD and ED applications typically use a colorimetry matrix specified in ITU-R Rec. 601.
      • Most HD, dual link, and 3 Gbit/s applications use a different matrix, specified in ITU-R Rec. 709.
      • The 1035-line H

        The dual-link and 3 Gbit/s interfaces additionally support other color encodings besides 4:2:2 YCbCr, namely:

        • 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 YCbCr, with an optional alpha (used for linear keying, a.k.a. alpha compositing) or data (used for non-video payload) channel
        • 4:4:4 RGB, also with an optional alpha or data channel
        • 4:2:2 YCbCr, 4:4:4 YCbCr, and 4:4:4 RGB, with 12 bits of color information per sample, rather than 10. Note that the interface itself is still 10 bit; the additional 2 bits per channel are multiplexed into an additional 10-bit channel on the second link.

        If an RGB encoding is used, the three primaries are all encoded in the same fashion as the Y channel; a value of 64 (40 hex) corresponds to 0 mV, and 940 (3AC hex) corresponds to 700 mV.

        12-bit applications are scaled in a similar fashion to their 10-bit counterparts; the additional two bits are considered to be LSBsIf an RGB encoding is used, the three primaries are all encoded in the same fashion as the Y channel; a value of 64 (40 hex) corresponds to 0 mV, and 940 (3AC hex) corresponds to 700 mV.

        12-bit applications are scaled in a similar fashion to their 10-bit counterparts; the additional two bits are considered to be LSBs.

        Vertical and horizontal blanking regions

        There is an expanded specification called SDTI (Serial Data Transport Interface), which allows compressed (i.e. DV, MPEG and others) video streams to be transported over an SDI line. This allows for multiple video streams in one cable or faster-than-realtime (2x, 4x,...) video transmission. A related standard, known as HD-SDTI, provides similar capability over an SMPTE 292M interface.

        The SDTI interface is specified by SMPTE 305M. The HD-SDTI interface is specified by SMPTE 348M.

        ASI

        The asynchronous serial interface (ASI) specification describes how to transport a MPEG Transport Stream (MPEG-TS), containing multiple MPEG video streams, over 75-ohm copper coaxial cable or multimode optical fiber. ASI is popular way to transport broadcast programs from the studio to the final transmission equipment before it reaches viewers sitting at home.

        The ASI standard is part of the Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) standard.

        SMPTE 349M

        The standard SMPTE 349M: Transport of Alternate Source Image Formats through SMPTE 292M, specifies a means to encapsulate non-standard and lower-bitrate video formats within an HD-SDI interface. This standard allows, for example, several independent standard definition video signals to be multiplexed onto an HD-SDI interface, and transmitted down one wire. This standard doesn't merely adjust EAV

        There is an expanded specification called SDTI (Serial Data Transport Interface), which allows compressed (i.e. DV, MPEG and others) video streams to be transported over an SDI line. This allows for multiple video streams in one cable or faster-than-realtime (2x, 4x,...) video transmission. A related standard, known as HD-SDTI, provides similar capability over an SMPTE 292M interface.

        The SDTI interface is specified by SMPTE 305M. The HD-SDTI interface is specified by SMPTE 348M.

        ASI