Grass Valley : Infinity Camera Still Not Ready

Grass Valley’s long-awaited Infinity tapeless camcorder, which is designed to record in various compression formats on Iomega disks and other removable media, is still not ready to ship, Grass Valley executives announced today at a press briefing in Santa Monica, Calif.

Since being introduced at the IBC show in September 2005, the Infinity camera has been touted by Grass Valley as a flexible, IT-friendly alternative to format-based cameras from Sony and Panasonic. But getting the product from a concept to a reality has been difficult for Grass Valley, which showed prototype units at NAB and said that it would begin shipping production models in July 2006.

After missing that date, at IBC last September Grass Valley said it would begin shipping Infinity by year-end 2006. Now the company says that July 2007 is the goal.

Grass Valley senior vice president Jeff Rosica says the latest delay for Infinity is due to customer-driven improvements from early testing, such as a more efficient cooling system and reduced power consumption, as well as the ability to add some new features such as a "breakthrough" camera imaging chip that Grass Valley parent Thomson has developed. He also said that potential customers for Infinity, which Thomson won’t name, were willing to wait another three or four months for Grass Valley to complete development.

“Are we later than we want to be with the camera system?” said Rosica. “Yes, of course, and we’re not happy. But the reality is that these kind of projects take time, and we want to get it right, and we won’t ship it before it’s ready. It’s clearly disappointing to us and to our customers, but we’re working on some enhancements that we think will bring some new benefits.”

Rosica says that the $26,000 camera will continue beta-testing through March, with deliveries scheduled for the end of the second quarter 2007. A ship date by the end of Q2 is a “major line in the sand” with both Thomson management and the Infinity camera factory in Breda, The Netherlands, he added.