Live from NAB – Day One Digest

As anyone who’s ever been to Vegas for NAB knows, while the show might not start till Monday, many of the stories from any given year hit the wires over the weekend as the exhibitors hold their press conferences in front of the world’s press in the weekend lull before the storm. From modest meeting rooms, to full-blown Vegas extravaganzas, this is where the news starts, and this year was no exception.

[Please head here for SVG’s full coverage of NAB 2011]

With the ‘Under New Management’ banners metaphorically flying, Grass Valley met the questions about it’s future head on. “I still hear people asking, ‘Is Francisco Partners here to resell the company in pieces?’” said new President/CEO, Alain Adreoli, who was an operating partner at Francisco Partners and previously president of Sun Microsystems Europe. “Well, I’m here to tell you Francisco Partners is here as a long-term investor in this company. Francisco Partners is here to keep investing to make this a business that will continue to flourish in the future.”

As part of this long-term investment, says Adreoli, Grass Valley will put at least 15% of its revenue exclusively towards R&D and product development this year and in years to come.

It could be a wise choice, especially if the company comes up with more products along the lines of its new 3G Transmission system. According to the company, this converges today’s triax and fiber connectivity into a single digital transmission solution. The system is capable of carrying uncompromised 3-Gbps signals over both triax and fiber. This allows any choice of transmission cable to carry uncompromised 1080i, 720p, or 1080p50/60 video.

If you’re looking for themes from the show, then 3D is obviously up there. Sony’s commitment to 3D sports was on display at its NAB press conference as it gave attendees a live look at The Masters in 3D, highlighted its role in the upcoming 3D production of Wimbledon (which is also revealed was going to include NEP Visions as OB provider) and also laid out details for its new 3D camcorders. The shoulder-mounted PMW-TD300 will be priced at $33,000 and available in late 2011 while the HXR-NX3D1U NXCAM compact camcorder, will cost $3,400 and hit the streets this summer.. More on both of those units courtesy of Sony Unveils First 3D Pro Camcorders.

Panasonic, of course, has a bit of a head start in this area, and took the covers off its next 3D camcorder, the AG-3DP1; a 3D twin-lens P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2 independent-frame, full 1920×1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording. The company also announced the first P2 HD handheld camcorder with AVC-Intra recording, the AG-HPX250, and casually dropped in the fact that DVCPRO HD will be the official recording format for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Host broadcaster Olympic Broadcasting Services London (OBSL) will also use the P2 HD series with solid-state memory cards for video-recording equipment. including P2 HD camcorder AJ-HPX3100 and P2 portable recorder AG-HPD24 at the Games.

Avid made a straightforward pitch to the in-venue entertainment market with its new Avid InGame; a system that combines Avid products from various stages in the in-venue video-production chain — editing, graphics, storage, asset management, archive — to create an overarching system for teams, stadiums, and leagues. The configuration, which is priced at $259,995, includes four seats of Media Composer editing software, two seats of PostDeko for Editors, 32 TB of ISIS 5000 real-time shared storage, Interplay Production asset management, and Interplay Archive integration with SGL FlashNet archive-management software, and the Spectra Logic Library T50e data-tape library, with 10 slots and one LTO drive enabling integrated storage and browsing of archived assets.

EVS rocked up to Vegas with the new XT3 in tow, an 8-channel production server that will be available in July in two versions: a 6RU chassis with six channels in and two out (or six channels in 3D/1080p mode) or a 4RU version that supports up to seven HD/SD hannels or four channels in 3D/1080p. Also expect support of 96 audio tracks (16 per channel) and native video codec support for formats including Panasonic AVC-Intra. Also new from the Belgian company was Xedioa Flash, an all-in-one newsroom developed for local TV or sports stations wanting to get into news and get content to air quickly.

Lastly, as second, third, and even fourth screens continue to invade viewers’ living rooms, broadcasters are searching for ways to link the primary broadcast experience with this secondary display. Snell is showing how its Morpheus automation platform can be leveraged to drive essential metadata to second-screen apps on the iPad as well as mobile platforms.

“Research shows a large number of consumers are interacting online and on tablets while they’re watching the broadcast,” Chief Marketing Officer, Neil Maycock said at Snell’s press conference on Sunday. “We think this is going to be a very significant trend, and we are looking to create value by linking the broadcast with the online experience.”

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