NAB 2010: Snell Revamps Kahuna Switcher

NAB 2010: Complete Coverage from B&C
Las Vegas -- Snell introduced at NAB a new version of its Kahuna production switcher, which has found traction with local stations, networks and sports trucks for its multi-format capabilities.
The new "Kahuna 360" can support up to 16 simultaneous broadcast productions in a single mainframe, which Snell says is an industry first. It uses the company's proprietary Format Fusion3 technology to support any combination of SD and HD inputs and outputs including three gigabit-per-second, 1080-line progressive HD. This capability eliminates the need for external conversion equipment, which Snell says reduces initial costs and saves valuable setup time in mobile production applications.
The new switcher also integrates Snell's patent-pending EPP (Enhanced Progressive Processing) which the company says provides superior quality in video processing, particularly for 1080p signals.
Existing Kahuna customers can upgrade to the 360 platform by switching out the back-end processing equipment for the switcher, at an estimated cost of perhaps 35-40% of the initial purchase price.
U.K.-based Snell, which was formed last year by the merger of video processing specialist Snell & Wilcox and routing and automation supplier Pro-Bel, also used its NAB press event to emphasize its support for stereoscopic 3D production across a range of products, including switching, standards conversion, monitoring and playout.
In speaking with its customers about 3D, said Snell Chief Marketing Officer Neil Maycock, "We hear everything from ‘It's all hype' to ‘It's happening, it's inevitably our business.' But it's clear that it's not a question of if anymore, it's a question of how much, how soon."
Snell's Alchemist product has already handled 3D standards conversion for coverage of the Six Nations rugby tournament, and Snell will be working with several international broadcasters to provide standards conversion for 3D coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Snell's modular gear can provide monitoring of the parallel left-right eye signal paths of a 3D production, and its Morpheus automation system can take the left- and right-eye feeds and combine them into a single playout event.
Kahuna also supports 3D by bringing the calibration of the left-and-right images into the switcher instead of requiring an external box.
"It can also handle the dual left/right eye feeds on a single mix/effect bus, so you're not losing 50% of your mix/effect capability with a single 3D input," said Maycock.
He added that Kahuna has been chosen by integrator Broadcast Solutions, which is building Germany's first 3D-equipped production truck.