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Echolab Overture2 MD Video Switcher Turns Crisis into Opportunity for St. Charles Family Arena

BILLERICA, Mass. — March 3, 2009 — Echolab Inc., a leading provider of professional video production switchers and broadcast tools, today announced that St. Charles Family Arena of St. Charles, Mo., has installed the company's Overture2™ MD (multi-definition) video production switcher to feed cable broadcasts of arena events, live video and video replay on the scoreboard, streaming video for the Web, and pay-per-view.

The St. Charles Family Arena is a county government facility with its video production operation managed by the same team that manages the county's public access cable channel. Installed in December, after a power surge shorted out most of the video equipment inside the 10,000-seat arena, the Overture2 MD switcher was pressed into service within a few weeks for four live events including a three-night rodeo, motorcycle ice racing, indoor football, and men's and women's basketball. The two-M/E video switcher's advanced features help yield a streamlined production operation, sophisticated effects including eye-popping graphics, and improved overall image quality.

"I am not only very impressed with the switcher but also with the quality of Echolab as a company," said Jack Gamble, video production manager for the St. Charles Family Arena. "Because of the circumstances, we were installing the equipment over the holidays, and even when I had a question on a Sunday night in late December, I got the help I needed within hours. The company's quality is equally represented by the Overture's design. I admit I'm a techno-nerd, and it immediately impressed me that the video cards within the chassis are mounted vertically, which helps in heat dispersal, promoting durability. Not every company does it that way, and to me it's a sign of thoughtful engineering."

St. Charles County chose the Overture2 MD switcher because it packs a lot of features into a reasonably priced package — crucial in an operation that is responsible to taxpayers — and it was able to accommodate the arena's mixture of legacy HD and SD cameras and replay equipment without requiring external conversion equipment. In addition, because the switcher features 16 routable outputs, its deployment eliminated the need for a third-party router that had been a part of the old system. The arena's Overture2 MD switcher is linked to a computer using Photoshop® and other Adobe® products, enabling an in-house graphics designer to create static and animated lower thirds using full HD (1920 x 1080) motion graphics.

"Simply put, the Echolab Overture series of video switchers does a lot for a little," said Ankit Patel, Echolab senior product manager. "Flexible and easy to use, the Overture fits perfectly into a wide range of applications, leveraging the use of legacy analog equipment while paving the way for the move to digital high-definition."

More information about the Overture series and other Echolab products is available at

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The St. Charles Family Arena

The Family Arena, at a cost of $32 million, opened in 1999. Originally intended to house several minor league sports franchises, the Arena has been home to the Missouri River Otters hockey team, the St. Louis Swarm basketball team, the St. Louis Steamers indoor soccer team, and the RiverCity Rage, the latest of several indoor football league teams that played in the 10,000-seat arena. In recent years, the Arena has become home to a variety of entertainment events, and over 325,000 people attended 179 events at the facility in 2008. The Family Arena got off to a great start this year with acts like Bill Gaither, Cirque du Soleil, Playhouse Disney Live!, and the Missouri Valley Conference women's basketball team. The arena entered into a new three-year agreement with the RiverCity Rage indoor football team and it is in the third year of a five-year deal with Feld Entertainment® for Disney On Ice.

About Echolab, Inc.

Echolab, Inc. is a leading provider of video production switchers and related tools that offer flexibility and on-air reliability for the production and distribution of digital media in a variety of formats. With products including its flagship Overture1™ and Overture2™ video production systems, Echolab delivers the robust functionality, reliability, and ease-of-use critical to professional-quality productions. Since its founding in 1974, the company has delivered more than 6,000 production solutions to a global client base including major broadcast networks and stations, corporations, educational institutions, houses of worship, sports arenas, entertainment venues, and military facilities.