Standards Converters – From PYE to the Aurora

625 to 405 standards conversion

Field Store Converter PYE TVT – circa 1972

Standards Converters - From PYE to the Aurora 1

And with the marvels of modern technology, what once filled a room (above) now sits in the palm of your hand (below).

Aurora Standards Converter – circa now

Standards Converters - From PYE to the Aurora 2

Standards convertors built


  • BBC CO6/501
  • PYE for ITV
  • IBA experimental.

Leaving aside the whole professional standards converter subject as I’m neither qualified or in a position to comment. I would like to try and document in a high level way, the Amateur hall of fame. When the 405 service ceased in 1985, amateur constructors emerged to to take up the challenge of building their own standard’s converter. In doing so they forever changed the fate of vintage TV collecting in the UK. No longer were these old televisions consigned to be static exhibits but shown as working TV’s, demonstrating these sets gave remarkable pictures,

So in the true tradition of British engineering, here are those few who ventured where others feared to tread.

The Amateur Standards Convertor Hall of Fame:




David Boynes First amateur to build a converter David built two convertors, none were sold to the general public
David Looser. Jim Daniels “The Pineapple” This unit was sold in numbers to the general public
Dave Grant, Mike Izycky “The Dinosaur” This unit was sold in numbers to the general public
Malcolm Everiss “The Domino”. This unit was sold in numbers to the general public
Darius (Converter designation unknown) Numbers unknown
Katharine Manton FOTH PC hardware running Linux to do standards conversion. One-off though others have built their own now
Darryl Hock “The Aurora” By far the most prevalent converter sold thus far. I’m not sure but I believe 700+ now exist in the UK alone.
Frank Cuffe The HedgHog The latest non commercial offering. Small numbers produced, more an exercise for Frank about could he do it.

You can even have a go yourself.

Note: If anyone can provide photos internal and external, build dates, technical info etc about the other convertors, I would dearly love to include them here to expand on each device in the “amateur hall of fame”.

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Peter Scott
5 years ago

Perhaps not strictly standards conversion but signal generation using a PC graphics card gives better video bandwidth than any standards converter that I have played with and is more versatile than many .


5 years ago

The photo captioned “Field Store Converter PYE TVT – circa 1972” may possibly include one or two CO6/504 line store converters (the last 2 racks on the right). The photo certainly shows a very large number of BBC “white units”, so it isn’t clear how much was Pye. On the original, can you read the aluminium labels above the vertical boards? If they say PA1/514D they were used in CO6/504 or 504A 625 to 405 line store converters which normally took up two 19″ racks, but the rest of the layout doesn’t look quite right.
Another point is that a field store shouldn’t be needed for conversion between two standards with different line numbers but the same field rate, e.g. 625 to 405, so if the photo is a field store converter it may have been doing 525/60 to 625/50 and/or 405/50. If so, that could explain the non-standard layout of the line store bays.

Reply to  Ferchault
5 years ago

Agreed – there are certainly BBC “Cinemascope” encoders visible at the bottom centre of frame so the CO6/504 is a real possibility – and perhaps the vectorscope at the left could also be a clue.

Richard Elli
Richard Elli
3 years ago

The picture of the Pye TVT standards converter was taken in the late 1960’s. Pye built the standards converter under license from the BBC.The unit in the picture used the BBC Standard module construction to speed production. Pye sold one unit to Argentina and then made a switchable version which could convert in both directions from PAL to NTSC and vice versa. This was sold to the BBC for use at Telvison Centre
The two units at the end of the row were Pye Line Store Standards Converters for final signal processing. The two stand alone unit contain test gear and SPG’s for both systems

Paul Cox
Paul Cox
Reply to  Richard Elli
3 years ago

The Pye TVT Field Store Convertor at was sold to Pan-American Television Argentina, Was switchable, PAL to NTSC and vice versa. I made it so, I’m the guy in background of the Picture of the Pye TVT Field Store Convertor,

James Hockri
James Hockri
Reply to  Paul Cox
2 years ago

Wow – amazing 🙂

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