Avid Launches New Version of AirSpeed Multi Stream Server

Avid is rolling out a new version of its Avid AirSpeed Multi Stream ingest and playout server that the company believes will help stations implement faster, lower-cost HD production workflows.

"We heard from many stations that they needed to have a lower cost of entry [to HD production]," noted Jim Frantzreb, senior market segment manager in Avid's broadcast division in an interview. "This redefines what you can do with an end-to-end HD workflow that offers more flexibility" at a lower cost.

Such solutions are increasingly important in the current economy, which has discouraged a number of stations from making the leap to high def local news casts. During Broadcasting & Cable's News Technology Summit last week in Nashville Tennessee, some panelists estimated that only 20% to 25% of all stations were currently offering local news in HD.

"A lot haven't made the move because of the cost and we are hoping that this could push them over," Frantzreb said.

Unlike previous versions, the AirSpeed Multi Stream 1.6 can be a standalone product for clients who have not purchased the Avid Interplay Production asset management system, reducing the investment required to start HD production with the Avid editing systems.

The upgraded server also simplifies workflow, conversion and playout. It eliminates the need to transcode clips to a SD or HD or to cross convert HD clips between 720p and 1080i AVC-Intra before sending the content to be played out. With the new version, it is also possible to play out SD or HD on the same playout channel, which eliminates the need to reconfigure channels or to dedicate separate channels for SD and HD.

The AirSpeed Multi Stream 1.6 will be available in four models: a SD version for $30,000, DNxHD for $38,000, MPEG-2HD for $55,000 and AVC-Intra for $55,000.

In addition, Avid has also brought out a new version of its news playout automation system, iNEWS Command (2.7), which offers full support for AirSpeed Multi Stream 1.6's features.