Thomson Grass Valley Touts HD Sales at IBC2007

Amsterdam, Netherlands -- Thomson Grass Valley announced major international sales of HD news- and sports-production equipment at IBC2007 here. But the long-awaited Infinity tapeless camcorder won't ship until fall.

In January, senior vice president Jeff Rosica indicated that Infinity -- which is designed to use a range of compression formats and recording media -- would be beta-testing through the spring and begin shipping in July. He called the Infinity ship date in the second quarter a "major line in the sand" with both Thomson management and customers.

But while Rosica said beta-testing is going very well, he now said production deliveries won't begin until this fall. Thomson did show HD video from several Infinity beta-testers, including NASA and Dutch production company Flevoland, and announced that Middle Eastern broadcaster Abu Dhabi Media will buy Infinity as part of a broad HD-news-production system from Thomson.

Thomson had more news in the sports arena, as it unveiled a new HD field camera, the LDK8000 Sportcam, with built-in super-slo-mo capability that will sell for about the same price as its established Worldcam (around $120,000). It also announced a 15-million-euro deal ($20.55 million) to build four HD outside-broadcast vans for Abu Dhabi, as well as a large deal for Netherlands production company Alfacam, in which Thomson is outfitting 10 OB vans with some 120 HD field cameras and 10 Kayak HD production switchers. Thomson is also supplying HD production gear to French broadcaster TF1 for its coverage this month of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

On the digital-news-production front, Thomson announced sales of networked HD-news-production systems to Czech broadcaster TV Nova and Brazilian broadcaster Rede Record, and officially introduced its Ignite HD production automation solution to the European market.

Rosica said HD sales continue to grow, both in the U.S. and overseas. "In reality, HD is no longer a story, as soon HD will be regular TV," he added. "It will be commonplace in news and control room automation."