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NAB: Grass Valley Showcases Product Upgrades

Complete Coverage: 2012 NAB Show

Grass Valley used its traditional slot at the NAB's opening press conference to demonstrate a number of new features and upgrades to its products as well as a long list of client deals.

Notable upgrades and new products include a new version of its Stratus Media Workflow Application Framework software, new functionality for its K2 Summit Media Server platform, a new 6.5 version of its EDIUS nonlinear software, and new features for its Trinix NXT Multiviewer for SD, HD and 3G.

The company also announced that it was adding to the flexibility of its 3G Camera Transmission system introduced at NAB 2011 with launch of the LDK 4427 3G Fiber Camera to 3G Triax Converter. That allows users producing programs in resolutions up to 1080p50/60 to send their signals across any type of cable infrastructure. The LDK 4427 performs a 1-to-1 conversion of a 3G fiber camera signal to a 3G triax signal.

In his opening remarks, Grass Valley president CEO Alain Andreoli stressed that the company was profitable and making headway in its transformation from a hardware company to a more software oriented solutions providers where products like its Stratus Media Workflow Framework would play a major role in their clients operations.

Regis Andrew, senior product manager, media products team, Stratus, K2 Edge, Ignite and MediaFuse noted in an interview that the new version of Stratus added new tools that help streamline the labor-intensive production processes for logging clips, replaying highlights, and accomplishing multi-layered editing.

The updates also facilitate the unlimited sharing of clips and content creation tools between workgroups or individual users.

While the product has only been shipping for five months, Andrew also noted that they had about 20 clients, including a deployment at Sky Racing in Australia.

Alex Harradine, broadcast IT manager, media and international division at Sky Racing noted in a separate interview that they used the Stratus software framework to streamline and integrate a wide variety of previously disparate operations.

Here, the goal was not to reduce headcounts, but to handle a huge volume of material for their pay TV channels, Web and mobile. "We produced over 83,000 live races a year," he noted.

Tim Slate, senior director and product line management K2 Servers and Dyno Replay Systems, noted that they'd added a number of new features to the K2 Summit media server platform, including support for AVCHD and H.264 file playback, as well as proxy encoding that can be both recorded and streamed over a network.

The K2 platform supports 3G and Slate noted that they were getting more interest from broadcasters for 3G infrastructures capable of handling 1080p HD. But he said that most of the demand was coming from clients who wanted to future proof their facilities rather than companies who were actually using it for production.

New client deals include WPSD, the NBC affiliate in Paducah, Ky. It revamped studio operations, production infrastructure, and its on-air image with an Ignite system, HDC robotic cameras, Grass Valley K2-based storage area network (SAN), and a Grass Valley TrinixTM NXT router with the new multiviewer option.

The K2 SAN at WPSD is being used for the handling of syndicated programs and incoming news feeds, as well as for playout operations. WPSD's Ignite system will be on-air at the end of May.

The company also announced a significant deal with the Manhattan Center, which upgraded its production capabilities to high-definition (HD) with Grass Valley products. The Center also used a Grass Valley GeckoFlex fiber backbone to move HD throughout the facilities and studios.

MIRA Mobile Television is also building its seventh new truck with complement of live production equipment from Grass Valley.

Other deals included work with Encompass Digital Media in the U.K., the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Māori Television in New Zealand, the Televideo S. A. production company in Bogotá, Colombia and Pronology.