Avid AirSpeed 2.0 Eases HD Growing Pains

Avid Technology is making HD news and sports a little bit easier with version 2.0 of the AirSpeed video ingest and playout server which is available now.

“This allows for stations to build an end-to-end system for news operations,” says David Schleifer, VP, Avid Broadcast and Workgroups. The new version incorporates Avid DNxHD technology, giving users a single compression method to encode HD material into much smaller files. That makes it possible to edit HD news, sports, and other programming in the same amount of time (and storage space) that it takes to edit SD material.

AirSpeed is available in two versions: a 300 GB version with a jog shuttle and monitor so that users can shuttle through material stored on it without the need for an external device and another version that eliminates the shuttle and monitor and replaces it with 1.2 TB of storage. That’s enough storage to meet HD demands.

“Stations are looking for ways to buffer more HD and fit bigger files into the AirSpeed,” says Schleifer. “”We understood that some users don’t need the jog shuttle, especially if they’re a newer facility where a lot of storage tends to be in the back, away from the end user.”

DNxHD also solves the problem of working with multiple types of HD. A station, for example, might use one type of HD for field acquisition and another for recording feeds. By passing through the DNxHD codec those multiple types become one, making it easier to edit and playout the material. HD resolutions and frame rates supported include 1080i/59.95, 1080i/50, and 720p/59.94 converted to Avid DNxHD data rates of 145 Mbps (megabits per second) or 120Mbps. The AirSpeed 2.0 system also supports standard definition formats such as uncompressed SD, DV25, DV50, IMX30 and IMX 50.

Schleifer adds that uncompressed SD is also an important addition. It gives those working with HD material access to “pristine” SD material that can be dropped into an HD project.