"Delivers the best pictures of any consumer-level standards convertor"

The ACE is packed with features that will appeal to moviemakers, home cinema enthusiasts and tape duplicators. Its USP is full standards conversion between PAL (50Hz or 60Hz), Secam, and both NTSC 3.58MHz and 4.43MHz. Combine the ACE with a multistandard VCR and you’ve got a highly flexible worldwide video solution.


The ACE’s front panel sports a plethora of knobs and buttons. Round the back you'll find a comprehensive bank of input and output sockets including 4-pin mini-DIN connectors for S-video, phonos for audio and composite video, and a Scart socket.

The latter provides an additional composite output, and can also be switched to deliver an RGB or YUV (component) video output. The ACE can thus be used as a multistandard colour decoder for PAL-only TVs equipped with an RGB Scart input. The YUV output can drive some current projection monitors and plasma screens, and will appeal to those who need to transfer S-VHS footage to broadcast-spec (e.g. Betacam) recorders.

A 4-pin mini-DIN to twin phono adapter cable is bundled with the unit, allowing it to drive two composite video outputs in the appropriate mode. So the ACE can act as a distribution amplifier capable of feeding up to four VCRs or monitors.


Four buttons allow the output standard to be set. Two configure the colour standard (NTSC, PAL or Secam), while the others select the refresh rate (50 or 60Hz) and NTSC/PAL colour subcarrier frequency (3.58MHz or 4.43MHz). Incidentally no other domestic-grade standards converters will convert to Secam.

Recognition of incoming video signals’ standard is automatic. If the output standard selected matches that of the input, the ACE will act as a timebase corrector. Such devices are very useful if you’re trying to make stable copies from worn tapes that exhibit obvious drop-outs.

The ACE will also defeat Macrovision copy-protection, which is good news if you want to make a backup of a damaged pre-recorded tape. (GTH Note: We have a strict policy on this. See FAQs)

Copying enthusiasts may also appreciate the vertical and horizontal colour-shift controls. These allow the colour (chroma) and brightness (luma) signals to be brought into registration with each other. It’s provided to correct multiple-generation copies, prior to rerecording.

Also on offer are colour correction (there are separate red, green and blue level controls) to compensate for camcorder or TV white balance errors, video adjustments (contrast, brightness, colour saturation and hue, plus sharpness), a variable Digitise (solarisation) effect and a video/audio fader that can be operated manually, or automatically over an adjustable period.

You can also invert the video signal, which can be useful if you want to transfer photographic negatives onto video with your camcorder and an appropriate light source.

In addition to EBU-standard colour bars, you get red and blue purity screens. These are extremely useful for checking the purity of TV screens - any patches would suggest that your screen needs degaussing, or that a strong magnet is too close to the tube. Make a recording of the red screen, and playing back the tape will give you a good idea of your VCR’s colour noise performance.

Our only criticism is that there’s no RGB/YUV input. Such a feature would allow the ACE to generate an S-video output from a Sky digibox, or drive RGB monitors from high-end equipment that has a YUV output.


The ACE delivers the best pictures of any consumer-level standards converter we have seen. Pictures are crisp and demonstrate freedom from colour bleed.

A digital comb filter helps the ACE to turn in a creditable performance as a multistandard colour decoder. It will certainly be superior to the decoders fitted to older large-screen displays, but you’ll only be able to take advantage of this feature if the monitor in question is equipped with an RGB input.

VERDICT: A video junkie’s dream.

Picture: 9/10, Sound: 9/10, Features: 10/10, Ease of Use: 9/10

What Video and TV Best Buy Award

What Video & TV "BEST BUY", Overall Rating 10/10

What Video & TV, May 2001.

What Video and TV Best Buy Award

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