Frequently Asked Questions

GTH Electronics Future Plans:
IEEE1394 / Firewire / iLink Connection
Component Video Input Connection
Will You Make a Simpler Converter?

Purchasing and Support Issues:
How to Send Card Details Separately
Must I pay customs duty or sales taxes?
Refund Policy & Worldwide Guarantee
Do you have/want agents in my country?

Solving Connection Problems:
Component Output Connection Issues
No Colour with "S" Video Input to ACE
No Colour with "S" Video Out from ACE
Wide rolling bars using TBC or converting

Solving Conversion Problems:
No Colour When Converting Standards
Converting 20:9 Ultra-Widescreen into 4:3
Combined Standards & Aspect conversion

Handling Monochrome Inputs:
Solving Flicker due to No Colour Burst
Solving Philips DVD Recorder Problems
Adding Tints without Special Version "B"

Video Copy Protection Issues:
Adding Video Copy Protection
Removing Video Copy Protection

Do you have any user guides?
How to Get Best Results from the ACE


Why did you Cut your Magazine Adverts?

From 2002 onwards our total sales increased to record levels. However, at the same time our sales through the UK video magazines dropped from almost 70% of total sales to less than 20%, with the vast majority of new customers finding us through the recommendations on the various video forums or through web searches. We therefore decided to cancel our magazine advertising and put all our effort into promoting our website.

Our sincere thanks go to all those who found us from the magazines and we hope you will bookmark this site and visit from time to time to keep up with the latest news, download our fact sheets or browse with an interest in purchasing one of our world renowned ACEs (sales now in over 40 countries)! Now that we have stopped production, sadly you will have to buy secondhand. Details of this decision and our future work can be found Here.



IEEE1394 / Firewire / iLink Connection

GTH Electronics have no plans to add IEEE1394 inputs or outputs. There are three reasons. Firstly demand for this is not high enough. Secondly the cost increase would make the product unattractive to many potential customers. Thirdly the improvement in quality would be very small compared to the use of "S" video interfaces. This is because the video would have to be decoded before processing and recoded after processing so the transparency normally associated with IEEE1394 connections when editing or copying would be lost. You can easily see how small the difference would be by comparing the quality of video copied using "S" interfaces with the quality using IEEE1394 connections.

Component Video Input Connection

GTH Electronics have no plans to add Component Input Connections to the ACE Converter.

Will You Make a Simpler Converter?

Some people are worried by the number of controls, or only need some, so think they could save money if we made a simpler version.

First it is important to realise that the Bypass button on the ACE Converter can be used to cancel all video adjustments without affecting standards conversion. With this button pressed in you have a simple converter and cannot mess up the video by incorrect adjustments. However they are still there if you need them and you will be surprised how valuable they can be. So don't worry, just use what you need!

Second it is a fact that with microprocessor control the ACE Converter's extra features do not cost much - only the cost of the knobs, buttons and switches behind them. So you get the extra functions for very little cost - the price you pay goes into state-of-the-art processing and high quality construction. A simpler version would therefore not be good value and everyone would want something different so they would probably cost more!


How to Send Card Details Separately

Our online catalogue uses a secure server with full encryption of your credit card and other details all the way from you to us. However if you prefer to send us your credit card details separately then that is no problem. Please still use the online catalogue for your order and select "Send Card Details Separately". You will not then be asked to fill these in but can telephone us. This way we get all your address details accurately in printed form and all you need to give us is the card number.

Must I pay customs duty or sales taxes?

Our price includes shipping but like other online suppliers does not include customs duty or local sales taxes. In many countries customs duty is zero or very low and often not charged. Similarly sales taxes are often low or not charged but for example in Australia or New Zealand there is no customs duty but you will pay 10% GST on the total invoice value. In the United States the customs duty is 2.6% but often not charged. Elsewhere please check with your customs office against our Customs Classification of 85.43.89.95.99 (normally only the first 4 digits required).

Refund Policy & Worldwide Guarantee

Our refund policy is stated clearly on our online catalogue page and also on our invoices. Basically we expect to recover our actual losses on the sale as our price does not include a try-before-you-buy option. Instead we have given as much detail as possible on our website and we are happy to answer any questions clearly and honestly. This way everyone gets the best possible price and there should be no disappointments which is why our return for refund rate is currently under 2%.

Our worldwide guarantee is on a return-to-base basis but covers repair and full return cost to you. We can afford to do this without adding to the shipping charge because our failure rate is so low!


Do you have/want agents in my country?

Our pricing was based on direct sales with no dealer markup except for the ACE24. Otherwise our only discounts were for quantity and then only a few percent. We did have dealers selling the ACE Converter in Australia (GDB International) and Sweden (DracoSystem AB). In Sweden this was an exclusive arrangement but elsewhere customers were free to buy direct from us or through any local dealer offering our products. In all cases buyers received our normal 1 year warranty.

Marketing policy for the ACE24 was different. These were sold through dealers as well as direct online at similar prices.

As we have now stopped all production and no longer have any stock dealers are no longer required!


Component Output Connection Issues

There are two types of component connection. In Europe the standard is to use RGB. In the USA the standard is YUV. Both give identical quality and it is possible to convert between the two without loss but using the wrong type of connection without conversion will cause very odd results. The ACE can give out both types but with some minor limitations which can be easily resolved, if they affect you, as explained below. The ACE standard default on power-up is RGB but with 2 presses of the "Output Type" button after power-up the output on the SCART is switched instead to YUV (See page 7 of the User Manual for full details).

The standard RGB output of the ACE on the SCART socket does not have sync on Green but works fine with European TVs when connected by a SCART lead as they are designed to take sync from the composite feed also on the SCART socket. RGB connection using our special SCART to RGB/YUV adaptor can be used with other equipment provided it can take sync on a fourth input from the separate Phono (RCA) composite output of the ACE. Otherwise you will need to buy a special adaptor such as the "Syncblaster" cable from Keene Electronics. This cable extracts sync from the composite output on the SCART and combines it with the Green to give the sync on Green required by equipment without a separate fourth sync input.

The alternative YUV output of the ACE on the SCART socket similarly does not have sync on Y (Luminance) but in this case (unlike with RGB) there is a very simple solution. Y (Luminance) with sync is available from the "S" video output socket. To use this simply plug the special "S" to two Phono (RCA) plugs lead we supply with every ACE into the "S" video output socket of the ACE. Now connect the Red Phono (RCA) plug of this lead into the Y input of your TV, leaving the other plug hanging. Then connect the U & V sockets of the special SCART to RGB/YUV adaptor to the U(Cb) & V(Cr) inputs of your TV. Make sure you press the "Output Type" button of the ACE exactly twice after power-up for the YUV with "S" combination (See page 7 of the User Manual for details).


No Colour with "S" Video Input to ACE

Loss of colour when using "S" video input to the ACE is usually due to confusion over SCART connections. The same SCART socket pin is used for standard composite video, such as from a VHS player, as for the black and white part of the "S" connection. The following table shows what will work and what will not:

Video Source Type and Setting Using "S" Lead Connection Using Composite Lead Connection
Non-"S" source e.g. standard VCR No Colour Full Colour
"S" source with SCART Adaptor on its output.
Source set to give "S" Output
Full Colour Weak or No Colour
"S" source with SCART Adaptor on its output.
Source set to give Composite Output
No Colour Full Colour

So, if you have a standard non-"S" source such as a normal VCR then you must use Composite connections from the source to the ACE. The "S" socket on a SCART adaptor plugged into a non-"S" source does not have "S" signals on it!

If you have an "S" source then we suggest you use the "S" output socket on the source but if you wish to use "S" output on a SCART socket then you must make sure the source is set to give "S" from the SCART.


No Colour with "S" Video Out from ACE

Loss of colour when using "S" video output from the ACE is usually due to confusion over SCART connections. The same SCART socket pin is used for standard composite video, such as from a VHS player, as for the black and white part of the "S" connection.

The SCART Output socket on the ACE does NOT have "S" signals on it. This output must be connected to devices expecting or set to accept Composite video, not "S".

Connection from the "S" or Composite Phono outputs of the ACE into a SCART input on a recorder or display device must follow the same rules as given above:

Video Destination Type and Setting Using "S" Lead Connection Using Composite Lead Connection
Non-"S" recorder or display No Colour Full Colour
"S" recorder/display with SCART Adaptor.
Recorder/display set for "S" Input
Full Colour Weak or No Colour
"S" recorder/display with SCART Adaptor.
Recorder/display set for Composite Input
No Colour Full Colour

So, if you have a standard non-"S" recorder such as a normal VCR or older TV then you must use Composite connections from the ACE to this unit. The "S" socket on a SCART adaptor will not accept "S" signals into it!

If you have an "S" recorder or TV with "S" input then we suggest you use the "S" socket on the ACE and your device but if you wish to feed "S" to a SCART input then you must make sure the recorder/display is set to expect "S" on the SCART.


Wide rolling bars using TBC or converting

If you see wide rolling bars when using Timebase Correction or when converting but not when both PAL and NTSC buttons are OUT (i.e. not in direct mode), these are caused by a wiring loop in your system and can be easily corrected. They are NOT due to the ACE. These bars are caused by pickup from your TV or monitor into the wiring loops and due to the fact that when in TBC or conversion modes the output of the ACE must necessarily be running at a different rate from the input.

The solution is to make sure your video source machine is connected ONLY to the ACE and not to anything else, using direct cabling from video source to ACE and removing any other wires connected to the video source, including aerial cables. If this is done there will definitely be no more interference. (The most common cause of this fault is the use of video switches for equipment interconnection.)


No Colour When Converting Standards

First check you have understood the use of the ACE Converter's "Standards" buttons. These are used to select the OUTPUT standard, NOT the Input Standard which is fully automatic. Next check that you have selected the correct Output Standard. For PAL output you should have ONLY the PAL standard button pressed IN. For American NTSC output you should have the NTSC, 60 and 3.58 standards buttons pressed IN.

Assuming these settings are correct you can be sure you have the right output. However you will of course only see the video in full colour on your TV or monitor if it can handle this output standard. So for example when converting from PAL to NTSC if your TV is a PAL-only one then you will not see colour on the output. In this case just be sure you are producing the selected NTSC and continue recording. During playback you will see full colour if your (UK) VCR has NTSC playback in PAL, or else you can play back the VCR tape through the converter with it now set to PAL.


Converting 20:9 Ultra-Widescreen into 4:3

The Aspect Ratio Conversion functions of the ACE Converter are extremely flexible and many unusual conversions can be achieved using two passes with intermediate storage on some "lossless" medium such as DV tape. For example if you wish to convert Ultra-Widescreen 20_9 material into 4:3 (and don't mind the severe cropping which will occur) then try the following for best overall quality:

First make sure the PAL and/or NTSC buttons are set IN as required for your local video standard. This will inhibit vertical expansion and allow the horizontal-only expansion needed. Now use the zoom mode with "Digitise" set four steps up from zero and record your video onto the intermediate storage with this horizontal expansion. This will give the 5/4 expansion and cropping needed to convert 20:9 into 16:9. Next re-process this stored video using the normal letterboxing mode but this time the PAL and NTSC buttons must both be OUT. Choose the level of zoom you prefer in the usual way, trading off image size against cropping. The aspect ratio will now be corrrect.


Combined Standards and Aspect Conversion

One minor limitation of the ACE is that it is not normally possible to combine standards conversion and aspect ratio conversion. (The exception is Pillarboxing.) However using the multi-pass solution mentioned above, with "lossless" intermediate storage, it can of course be achieved. The only point worth noting is that the optimum order for Letterboxing is to do the Standards Conversion First. On the other hand when converting from Letterbox to Anamorphic or when converting 4:3 into 16:9, in both cases using Pillarbox conversion the optimum order is to do the Standards Conversion Last.

Solving Flicker due to No Colour Burst

First it is worth explaining that most current video transmissions do contain a colour burst even when the content is an old black and white movie. In this case you will have no problems at all. However some people have old recordings from a time when it was common practice to turn off the colour burst on black and white transmissions.

When presented with a monochrome, i.e. black and white, video input the ACE will cycle round the 9 accepted video colour standards continuously. This would not matter but for the fact that the brightness level on the different standards varies causing the output brightness of the ACE to vary and the video to flicker in some modes.

The solution is to use the Colour Standard Lock facility as described on Page 10 of the User Manual. To enable this facility simply turn the power off, hold in the button marked "COLOUR SHIFT^" and turn the power on again while this button is held in. The "COLOUR SHIFT^" button can then be released. To cancel this mode simply turn power off and on again without holding this button in.


Solving Philips DVD Recorder Problems

Early versions of the Philips DVD Recorders could not accept monochrome inputs where there is no colour burst. With PAL video sources this can be easily solved using the ACE by setting the output video standard to SECAM which does not need a colour burst. The Philips recorders will accept SECAM regardless of the video type and produce a DVD identical to one produced using PAL sources. Simply set the ACE Output to SECAM (PAL+NTSC IN).

Adding Tints without Special Version "B"

Using the method above it is also possible to add colour tints to monochrome video without a colour burst. Normally the ACE will not produce a colour burst if the input does not have one so it is impossible to add colour tints without purchasing the Special Version "B". However if recording onto a DVD recorder like the Philips ones which will accept SECAM it is possible to add tints to true monochrome video since SECAM does not need a colour burst. Simply set the ACE Output to SECAM (PAL+NTSC IN). You can then use the ACE controls to add the tints you require. If your TV will not accept SECAM then you will not be able to see the results directly and will need to experiment using a re-writable DVD since playback will be in PAL and viewable on a normal PAL TV.

Adding Video Copy Protection

For a wedding videographer or producer of Special Interest Videos the question of the possibility of copy protection is of particular interest. There are two issues to consider. The first is how to add the copy protection and the second is how to record the resulting video!

For VHS tapes the de-facto copy protection standard is Macrovision. Unfortunately the extremely high licence fees make this available only to the largest copy houses so those doing their own copying or using smaller copy companies are unable to take advantage of this type of protection. Of course if Macrovision protection could be added then it would also be necessary to use special commercial VCRs which will record despite this protection which is an added expense. In general the videographer will just rely on the loss of quality on second generation copies and reasonable pricing of his own copies to reduce the financial losses.

The advent of digital recording changes the scene completely. Customers can now make loss-less copies from a master VHS tape either onto DVD or Dvcam and distribute to friends or family. Fortunately this can be prevented by the addition of CGMS-A (Copy Generation Management System - Analogue), as with the ACE Converter special version "R". This will still allow copying to the majority of VHS VCRs but such copies will suffer the usual loss of quality for a second generation tape. However it is this ability to record onto VHS that makes this option viable in the first place! The important point is that CGMS-A does stop loss-less copying to DVD or DVcam. Of course, copy protection removers are available, but research has shown that most people do not bother to buy these or the whole analogue copy protection industry would have collapsed!

Unfortunately for those providing copies in DVD form my research suggests that Macrovision and CGMS are unavailable on recordable DVD which is the only practical route for medium quantities. However, those providing copies on tape can now protect their copyright within reasonable limits.


Removing Video Copy Protection

Any ACE Converter with the latest software will always remove all forms of copy protection. However we do not condone illegal copyright theft and due to the requirements of the USA Digital Millennium Copyright Act and similar laws elsewhere we will refuse to sell to anyone who intends to use our products for this purpose.

For those customers living in jurisdictions where copying of their own material is permitted for personal use, or where permission has been given for copying of copyright material, it is worth noting that the Original ACE also always removes Macrovision but unlike the ACE Converter it does not automatically remove CGMS-A protection from DVDs. However this can be achieved by pressing IN just the Top Wipe button (to the right of the ACTION button), leaving the other three Wipe buttons OUT and pressing IN the MANUAL button, leaving the AUDIO button OUT. Then, starting with the SPEED/MANUAL Fade Knob fully clockwise, turn it slowly anticlockwise while trying to record your copy until copying is permitted. Turning this control too far anticlockwise will of course cut off part of the video at the top so careful adjustment is required but the correct setting will remove CGMS-A protection and not damage the video. (BYPASS must be OUT!)


How to Get Best Results from the ACE

In order to cover various questions and give more detailed explanations of settings some people find hard to understand we have added a new downloadable guide on our manuals page where you can also find downloadable copies of all our user manuals and special version manuals. No doubt this "how to" guide will be added to as other queries are raised.

Copyright GTH Electronics 1997 - 2009

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Email to: sales@gthelectronics.com Telephone: 01692 402501 International Tel: +44 1692 402501

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