Sync Restore (TBC) Box Enhances Video and Overlay Text Quality 

In an ideal world, all pipe crawlers would have hi-def digital cameras that offer a crystal clear picture and a sharp, easy-to-read text overlay in the live feed of each inspection. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world, and even more unfortunately, many users don’t even know that the cameras on most crawlers are...let’s say “insufficient”... when it comes to providing a clear, optimal output image. Worst, most owners simply put up with the distortion, thinking the blurry, grainy low-res image is the best that their equipment offers.

POSM Sync Restore Box

Fortunately, there’s a simple fix that will improve your crawler’s live feed dramatically, and POSM Software offers it to all its interested customers.

The solution comes in the form of an old piece of hardware, originally created in the days of early video tape, designed to sharpen and clarify the image and make it usable with modern production studio equipment. The hardware is called a time base corrector (TBC) and the process of clarifying the video signal is called a sync restore. Put simply, the device corrects the low-res analog image coming from the camera and syncs the pulse to the digital monitor, boosting the signal and clarifying the image for dramatic results that must be seen to be believed.

Before and after installing a TBC on a "Mars" system.

The TBC is a simple box with cable connections and monitor controls. Like so much older technology, the boxes are getting hard to find, but ever since Bob Katter, founder of POSM Software, discovered how incredibly useful the TBC is, the company has made sure that it keeps plenty of boxes in stock.

Katter explained that the main function of the TBC is to “clean up the video so that we can put a video text overlay on top of the NTSC or PAL video and digitally record it. This device also lets the user adjust the color, saturation, hue, and brightness of the video.”

Users can also convert video formats. Many European and Chinese camera vendors send cameras to the U.S. in PAL format. This device converts the signal to NTSC so the cameras will work with U.S. monitors and size formats.

Before and after installing a TBC on a "Cupid" system.

So how does it work? The main purpose of the TBC is to fix time-based sync errors. All video has a sync pulse that allows recording devices (and monitors) to lock onto the signal. A noisy picture can cause a text overlay and / or a recorder to stop. The TBC will inject a pulse to ensure the video remains clean. It also restores the DC voltage levels of the video. A low DC level results in a grayed-out or rainbow-colored picture. If the DC levels are too high, the picture appears washed out. The TBC fixes both problems.

Bob has frequently recommended the TBC box to many of POSM Software’s customers. The hardware is simple, easy to install, and addresses so many potential video issues, it’s amazing that more Inspection Software companies don’t recommend or offer them. Yet, as far as we can tell, POSM Software is unique in this regard. POSM offers the unit to its customers. Our tech support will talk you through the install once it’s delivered. Individual brand, appearance, and functionality may vary (we told you they are getting hard to find).

You can order a sync-retore box from POSM here. It's the third product on the page.