NVIDIA Quadro Digital Video Pipeline

by HEXUS Staff on 30 December 2010, 00:00


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Practically all broadcast and film production environments today incorporate real-time graphics in their broadcasted content to enhance, analyse or animate normal video material. This requires strong systems able to product graphics quickly enough for live TV, as well as to combine the two different signals - graphics and video. The NVIDIA® Quadro® Digital Video Pipeline is the industry's only GPU-accelerated solution for real-time acquisition, processing, and delivery of high-resolution and uncompressed video across standard and 3D video broadcast environments. The pipeline consists of three components working harmoniously together. The Quadro SDI capture card enables multi stream uncompressed video to be streamed directly to the Quadro SDI-enabled GPU memory. This Quadro GPU card is responsible for processing the video as well as producing the graphics, and the Quadro SDI output card provides an integrated graphics to video solution enabling real-time compositing of the two sources.

The result is a perfectly timed and composited image consisting of both live video and live graphics. Designed as an ultra-flexible platform, the Quadro Digital Video Pipeline makes 3D video production and delivery a simpler and more efficient process. Developed for single or multi-camera environments, and with full support for stereoscopic 3D production workflows, the Quadro Digital Video Pipeline can stream up to four HD SDI video streams directly into the GPU. As a tightly integrated solution, the Digital Video Pipeline is powered by a single workstation, enabling cost effective implementation of multi-camera 3D systems.

Who uses this technology?

Any professional production environment needing a combination of graphics and video, or needing to ingest or output digital video will benefit from efficient processing and compositing of video and graphics material.

The Quadro digital video pipeline is at the epicenter of the 3D stereoscopic production workflow. Capturing four video feeds allows for true stereoscopic production, using fill and key for left and right eyes. The video is then composited with graphics directly on the GPU without the need to transfer data over the PC bus. The final result can then be streamed directly to live TV. Video content can also be previewed directly on stereo-ready displays when driven by Quadro solutions that support a broad list of 3D stereo formats.

The digital broadcast market is particularly dependent on graphics overlays and 3D content. The Quadro Digital Video Pipeline is the platform for broadcast and video production-houses to easily incorporate virtual sets and effects for broadcasting sports, news and weather. The ever increasing complexity of on-screen graphics, and the migration to HD, 2K and 3G-SDI require stronger and faster solutions for production, and the Quadro hardware is just the tool to remove many of the obstacles designers have grown to expect.

Film production is another market benefitting greatly from an efficient unified solution. The ability to capture 12 bit colour directly to the GPU meets the higher image quality expectations of film professionals, and outputting real-time material for monitoring enables crews to use graphics alongside their real life content instead of relying on post production alone, thus simplifying the production process.

Which graphics cards?

The SDI input and output cards are add-on options for several of the Quadro series graphics cards. Since these options are highly specialized and demand high performance of the GPU, they are enabled on the higher end of the range.

SDI is available with Quadro FX3800, 4000, FX4800, 5000, FX5800 and 6000 GPU's.

Determining which GPU is suitable to work with your SDI solution depends on the complexity of graphics required. Simple graphics overlays to be sent out to video or composited with video can be achieved with the Quadro FX3800 or 4000 cards. Complex projects involving building of geometry and rendering of 3D material, as well as visualizing large scenes will require stronger GPUs with more processing power and memory.


Quadro Solution Quadro 6000 Quadro 5000 Quadro 4000 Quadro FX 5800 Quadro FX 4800 Quadro FX 3800
CUDA PARALLEL PROCESSING CORES 448 352 256 240 192 192
# OF SLOTS Dual Dual Single Dual Dual Single


All GPUs supporting the digital video SDI options will enable the standard Digital Video Pipeline features such as direct video ingest to the GPU, stereoscopic synchronization, 2K, HD and SD video support, multi channel HD capture and GPU processing via CUDA based applications.

Quadro SDI Capture Features:

  • Capture Uncompressed 8-,10-, or 12-Bit SDI Output
    Enables on-air broadcast, video production and post production professionals to capture live video, uncompressed 8-,10-,12-bit SDI directly to graphics memory in SD-, HD-, 2K-, 3G- resolutions.
  • Capture up to 4 SDI Sources Directly to GPU Memory
    Quadro SDI input card is the industry's only capture card that enables direct transfer of video to graphics memory, delivering the lowest latency input to GPU memory.
  • Ancillary Data Support
    Supports the capture of SMPTE RP188 ancillary data. This ancillary data can include up to 16 channels of embedded 24-bit digital audio as defined by SMPTE 272M and SMPTE 299M, timecode and custom packets.
  • Monitor Out
    Monitor out can be used as a sync source for the optional SDI Output card.

Quadro SDI Output Features:

  • Uncompressed 8-, 10-, or 12-Bit SDI Output
    Enables on-air broadcast, video production and post production professionals to composite and output live video and graphics to true, uncompressed 12-bit SDI in 2K, SD, or HD resolutions and allows direct connection to a broadcast monitor, switcher, tape deck, or SDI projector.
  • Ancillary Data Support
    Supports the insertion of SMPTE RP188 ancillary data into the outgoing SDI video. This ancillary data can include up to 16 channels of embedded 24-bit digital audio as defined by SMPTE 272M and SMPTE 299M, time code and custom packets
  • Genlock (House Synchronization)
    One genlock (Standard BNC) connector (digital or analog) provides connectivity to a video sync source for SMPTE standard (digital, black burst, tri-level) synchronization. Expanded cross sync functionality permits an incoming house signal to synchronize to a much larger number of video output signal formats.
  • Output up to 2-SDI Video Feeds from GPU Memory
    Quadro SDI Output card connects directly to supported Quadro graphics cards to output video directly from GPU memory to SDI. This direct access delivers the industry's lowest latency SDI output directly from GPU memory.


  • Next-Generation NVIDIA® CUDATM Architecture
    Breakthrough NVIDIA CUDA parallel computing architecture, code named Fermi, tightly integrates advanced visualization and compute features delivering performance that greatly accelerates professional workflows.
  • Framebuffers up to 6 GB of GDDR5 memory with ultra fast bandwidth
    Industry's first GPU with 6 GB of memory and memory bandwidth of 144 GB/sec for display of large models and complex scenes, as well as computation of massive datasets.
  • Large framebuffers with ultra-fast bandwidth
    Large GPU memory with fast bandwidth for display of complex models and scenes, as well as computation of large datasets.
  • NVIDIA GigaThreadTM Engine
    Provides up to 10x faster context switching compared to previous generation architectures, concurrent kernel execution, and improved thread block scheduling
  • Dual Copy Engines
    Enables the highest rates of parallel data processing and concurrent throughput between the GPU and host, accelerating techniques such as ray tracing, color grading and physical simulation
  • Scalable Geometry Architecture
    Dramatically improves geometry performance across a broad range of CAD, DCC and medical applications, enabling you to work interactively with models and scenes that are an order of agnitude more complex than ever before.
  • Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
    The NVIDIA UDA guarantees forward and backward compatibility with software drivers. Simplifies upgrading to a new solution because all Quadro products work with the same driver software.

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