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IBC News: EVS Serves Up New Avid

Belgium-based EVS Broadcast Equipment, whose production servers have become the standard for slow-motion and replay applications in live sports production, announced at IBC that its high-definition servers will now support DNxHD, the popular compressed (145 Mbps) high-definition format developed by editing giant Avid for production use.

By integrating Avid’s DNxHD codec into the EVS XT production and playout server, Avid DNxHD material can now be natively encoded and decoded by the EVS unit, providing broadcasters with direct access to clips and media for news and sports productions that rely on Avid editing.

Such flexibility is becoming increasingly important as 12-year old EVS steadily expands from the sports arena into news applications. At IBC, EVS announced a contract with Channel One Russia to provide a fully integrated news production system that includes EVS CleanEdit editing software. The system, which allow use proxy files to allow Channel One journalists to monitor edits and adapt them throughout the production process, will include 80 browse workstations, 30 edit stations and four high- and low-resolution supervisor seats. The EVS technology will also integrate with VizRT graphics and a Front Porch Digital DIVA archive system.

“Today, we are much more than a slo-mo solution,”proclaimed EVS CEO Pierre L’Hoest, speaking at a press event last Friday.

Nonetheless, EVS remains steadily committed to sports production, particularly for major events such as the 2006 Winter Olympics, FIFA World Cup, French Open and Tour de France, where its systems were widely used for replay, quick turnaround and playout applications. EVS General Manager Luc Doneux says that working with host broadcasters and large networks for events like the Olympics and World Cup is not only good business, but is a necessity for the company’s development cycle.

“It’s a way to stay very close to all of our customers’ requirements,” he says.

Ikegami partners with InPhase for next-generation storage

Camera manufacturer Ikegami is teaming with Longmont, Colo.-based InPhase Technologies to provide an innovative archiving solution for users of its disk-based Editcam camcorders.

The Japanese company has signed an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) agreement with InPhase to sell its high-capacity holographic data-archiving systems under the Ikegami name. InPhase has developed a laser-recording technology that can transfer video onto a 300-GB, clear optical disk at a transfer rate of 160 Mbps and store roughly 35 hours of broadcast-quality video. The system is currently being tested by Pappas Telecasting and Turner, and CBS and NBC have also expressed interested in the technology, says InPhase VP of marketing Liz Murphy.

The initial product resulting from the Ikegami/InPhase agreement will be an Ikegami-branded 300GB external holographic drive associated with a PC that is designed to be a cost-effective, tapeless solution for archiving large video files finished on nonlinear editing systems and acquired with Editcam and Editcam HD tapeless camcorders. EditCam users, who will continue to use disk or solid-state storage for acquisition, will be able to port content to the InPhase discs via a Firewire or FTP connection.

“They’ll basically be using it as data dump,” says Murphy, who is demonstrating the holographic drive at IBC.

Each InPhase optical disc is enclosed in a rectangular cartridge that slides into the holographic drive, which will sell for around $15,000. The optical disc itself doesn’t move at all while it is being read by the drive, which is a selling point with broadcasters, says Murphy.

InPhase says that storage costs for its holographic discs equate to about 50 cents per gigabyte. But the major appeal of the technology goes beyond pricing issues, says Murphy.

“It’s not tape.”

Harmonic snags satellite, telco deals

Video encoding and infrastructure supplier Harmonic has won a deal from Telenor Satellite Broadcasting to provide the Norwegian satellite operator with IP-based satellite uplinks using a range of Harmonic encoding products, including its DiviCom Electra 5000 MPEG-2 encoders, DiviTrackIP distributed statistical multiplexing and ProStream 1000 digital splicing technology.

Telenor, which through subsidiary Canal Digital broadcasts over 200 channels over one million Norwegian households, also signed a frame purchase agreement for future sales of Harmonic products.

Harmonic displayed its newest MPEG-4 AVC standard- and high-definition encoders at IBC, as well as the ProStream 2000 MPEG-4 splicer, showing four 1080i HD channels compressed in a 25 Mb/s stat-mux group.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, which recently acquired video-on-demand firm Entone to broaden its cable and telco offerings, also announced that is supplying MPEG-4 AVC encoders to German telco T-Com Germany (part of Deutsch Telecom) for its fledgling IPTV video service, and FLXLink optical transmission gear to Maygar Telekom for delivering high-speed data to multiple dwelling units (MDUs) in Hungary.