Autocue, Calrec, Fischer take a different approach

Not every company at this year’s NAB Show has the newest, hottest technology. And as Mark Richards, international broadcast manager for the UK’s Fischer Connectors, told me, it’s often not worth it to release a new product at a show just for the sake of releasing a new product.

Fischer, though, is a special case, considering that it works in connectors and, because of this, a particular challenge for the company breaking into the U.S. market is based on the different standards here in the States. To its credit, the company did showcase some new products at IBC this year. But Richards doesn’t want to rush anything this year, preferring to wait to release a proven, reliable product than to just whip something up for the show that won’t be available until who knows when (he says the company should have some new technology to highlight by next year’s NAB).

While some wait, others do something a little different. It seemed to be a trend for companies that didn’t have something totally new and groundbreaking to tweak their existing products in ways that will particularly benefit their broadcast clients of all market sizes. Some companies were taking their products apart, essentially, making them more modular, increasing interoperability with products from the company and third parties, adding features to existing products and lowering the cost, because the products include only the bare bones of what the broadcaster requires.

Calrec Audio, for example, was showing its Alpha, Sigma and Omega audio consoles with Bluefin DSP technology. Added to the consoles were features such as remote configurability (via Ross OverDrive Automated Production Control system), more mission-critical redundancy and, of particular note, upgradeability for 5.1 audio. According to Kevin Emmott, marketing manager for Calrec, any broadcaster who’s bought a Calrec console in the last six years can simply purchase the Bluefin card and swap it out in their consoles for 5.1 audio, at a price far less than it would cost to fully upgrade a system.

QTV/Autocue, newsroom solutions and teleprompting systems provider, featured its higher-end Master and Professional series for larger broadcasting applications, but also featured its Starter series of prompters, a scaled-down, more cost-effective system to smaller, non-traditional broadcasters. The company was also showing its QStore video server system, which, in conjunction with other QSeries software products, is an off-the-shelf, cost-effective, stand-alone solution. Also in the QSeries line is the QMaster IP-based networked prompting system, which provides remote operability, among other features.