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Camelot Technology Powered S-Video Cable Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 April 1998
Image Upgrading the picture quality of your home theater is as simple as tossing aside those coax cables and using the S-Video connections you've may have had all along. As always, you should use the best possible cable for any connection, but Camelot Technology takes it a step further with their Powered S-Video Cable.

The S-Video (also known as Y/C Video) connection incorporates the comb filters built into Laserdisc players and transmits the luminance (Y) and chrominance (C) portions of the video signal separately. Luminance, the black and white portion of the video signal, provides the brightness information. Chrominance, the color portion of the video signal, carries information about the hue and saturation. By transmitting Y & C on two separate wires, you avoid the compromised picture common to composite video (NTSC) which mingles (and mangles) the two signals together.

The Excalibur Powered S-Video Cable provides one S-Video input (from your video source) and one S-Video output to your monitoring device. Also, included is a coax output if your TV does not have a S-Video input connection. The active circuits within the Excalibur work their magic on the signal in the same way thus you still notice an improvement in picture quality even when using the coax output. To eliminate any interaction with the AC mains, the unit is powered by an external DC power transformer.

The balance or the ratio of Y to C must be maintained to ensure signal integrity. Like any type of cable, S-Video cables can experience signal loss, especially over long runs. The incoming S-Video signal is impedance matched and signal conditioning is applied to Y & C separately when the signal is routed through the Excalibur Powered S-Video cable. The active circuits, housed in a 3 inch square chassis, incorporate a 6th order low pass filter, a first order all-pass filter, a gain boost circuit and a 75 ohm coaxial cable driver. The module also incorporates a special frequency equalizer to analyze frequency response and compensate for signal losses in cable runs up to 50 meters. I've been using S-Video connections for both my LD and DVD player for some time and enjoy the clear advantage this signal path provides over composite video. When I first hooked up the Excalibur Powered S-Video cable I didn't notice an overly dramatic difference. However, after comparing the picture with and without the Excalibur S-Video cable a of couple times, I realized the improvements--while more subtle than I expected--were demonstrative.

Skin tones were more natural with greater definition in the facial features. Colors were richer with deeper saturation. The key difference for me, was the increased perception of depth due to the extended contrast between the light and dark areas of the picture. Images seemed to "pop" off the screen. I've come to appreciate the sharper and more detailed image provided by the addition of the Excalibur S-Video cable in my system. Like any improvement, no matter how subtle, once you notice the difference you can't live without it.

While the enhancement won't compare with the quality you would find with component outputs from a DVD player or a line doubler, those two options mean serious upgrades and major dollars. The Excalibur S-Video cable offers a simpler and less costly solution for improving picture quality from LD and DVD players. The cable retails for $249 and is highly recommended.

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