Grass Valley Unveils NAB2006 Plans

March 3, 2006
In advance of NAB2006, Grass Valley this week announced a series of new products along with a new financial lending services program for media entertainment customers.

The Grass Valley Financial Services program is a new capital lending service spearheaded by National City Commercial Capital Corp. (NC4). NC4 will handle a variety of customized financing options offered by Grass Valley. Through a series of phased rollouts over the next three months, these programs will initially be offered through Grass Valley's North American direct sales force and then through its established reseller networks. Each program enables a buyer to amortize their investments in Grass Valley equipment, software license packages and engineering services over an extended period of time.

"The Grass Valley Financial Services program is a key addition to our support of customers. With it, we can enable our customers to move ahead with key shifts and expansions--such as the move to HD and implementation of multiple distribution strategies--without the added worry of limitations related to capital budgets," said Marc Valentin, president of the Grass Valley business within Thomson."

Grass Valley customers will be able to use such financing programs to purchase a range of new products that the company unveiled at a press briefing in Palm Springs, Calif. this week.

Grass Valley has upgraded the MediaEdge3 from Canopus, the Japan-based NLE developer which it acquired recently. The MediaEdge3 video distribution system now uses Canopus MPEG compression technology to deliver HD video across the enterprise, targeting retail settings, sports arenas, corporations, airports, etc. It also represents an expansion of the Grass Valley ProLine series of products for professional A/V applications and users.

MediaEdge3 provides a multichannel, multi-location video delivery system using standard TCP/IP networks and both SD and HD display devices to deliver formats such as MPEG-1, HD and SD MPEG-2, as well as MPEG-4, to multiple PCs and set-tops.

Also new from Canopus, the ADVC700 digital video converter line uses a Canopus DV codec to preserve picture quality during analog to DV conversion, plus locked audio support for audio/video synchronization. The AVDC700 can be configured via an LCD front panel and jog dial. The converter uses "PerfectSync" technology to control and synchronize the transfer rate of FireWire communication with an external reference signal. This prevents skipped and duplicate frames and produces perfect conversion of all frames during analog/DV conversion.

Grass Valley also showed new features for the SmartVision TV IP Video Solution it inherited from Thales Broadcast, the French-based transmission and IP developer it recently acquired. With more than 300,000 worldwide subscribers, the SmartVision TV IPTV service distributes video and multimedia services over xDSL, FTTx, Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet networks.

Version 2.0 of SmartVision TV has been enhanced to offer a rich environment for managing systems that transport on-demand and live programs over MPEG-4 AVC (H.264)-based high speed networks and those with conditional access systems as well as those that support HD and VOD content. The new version also supports access to video services and interactive capabilities within the Thomson triple-play offering (via Cirpack Telephony over an IP platform), as well as supporting multi-home infrastructures (TV set, PC hybrid set tops, etc.) and multiple streams per terminal (SD, HD, MPEG-4 AVC) and format-agnostic content delivery.

Ignite, which evolved from the ParkerVision automation line, has been upgraded to an HD version. Based on the Grass Valley Kayak HD compact video production switcher frame, Ignite has also been expanded to include a series of robotic cameras and an updated programmable controller.

Grass Valley also introduced several new accessories for HD multi-format camera systems including a new 7-inch SuperExpander viewfinder that uses a monochrome, high-brightness, multiformat CRT to provide sharpness. The SuperXpander can be used with both SD and HD cameras and used with triax, hybrid fiber, or dual-fiber infrastructures.

The MOBox (Mixed Operation Box) enables contractors at outside broadcast events, such as those held at sports arenas, for example, to work with both fiber and triax systems when rigging for transmission. Where a stadium is fitted with fiber, a new cover is available for each camera's triax adaptor to convert it to fiber, and a compact base station (three cameras in 2RU), performs the reverse in the truck.

Grass Valley has also upgraded its HD triax transmission system to improve overall signal-to-noise performance and extend the safe operating range of a camera from 1,000m (3,300 feet) to 1,500m (5,000 feet).

These new product announcements for NAB2006 are in addition to new products previously announced by Grass Valley in January.

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