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Grass Valley GeckoFlex Wins Praise

Manhattan Center Productions is responsible for producing live concerts, music-related television shows and various other television programming. Day to day operations of this sort require the handling of a mixture of both analog and digital content. Signal conversion is very important to us, now that we've begun to produce and shoot shows in HD, and we're performing up, down and cross conversions on a daily basis. To make this happen, we rely on Grass Valley's GeckoFlex signal processing platform, as it offers every type of modular card you can think of and also because of our solid experience with our other Grass Valley gear, including switchers, routers and servers.


Our staff still works mostly in an SD environment with a layer of HD installed on top, and all of our signals distributed through a Grass Valley Trinix SD router.

We're in the process of moving to a fully automated HD infrastructure, but for the time being, we're using dozens of GeckoFlex cards in a manual mode. Each signal path is pre-determined and processed on command. We plan to add a new Trinix HD router later this year, and we'll automate many of those processes.

We really like the Grass Valley platform as it provides lots of features per card and gives us the ability to mix and match different processing cards in the same frame. This has helped immensely in our migration to high definition by keeping costs down while still providing us with access to some of the advanced features we need. We also get great support from Grass Valley in keeping our systems up and running (including the overnight replacement cards when it's been necessary). As we're one of the busiest studios in New York City, we can't afford any downtime.


One of our favorite aspects of Grass Valley's signal processing platform is the NetConfig software, which comes free with the purchase of GeckoFlex cards. There's no other special software required to perform system configurations. Setting up the cards requires only a standard Web browser. Adjusting card parameters could not be easier. The Grass Valley NetConfig application is available to help structure your system view in the same browser. The application basically provides an HTML front end to the gear, allowing us to monitor the status and signal flow through each card in order to maintain signal integrity. It provides graphical representations of each card and allows us to drill down to the individual "spigots" on each one. This has saved significant amounts of time and effort in troubleshooting problems and has helped us avert a number of catastrophes.

Grass Valley technology has allowed us to move into the HD world without having to redo our entire facility infrastructure. The 2-RU GeckoFlex frame is backwardly compatible with all of our existing Gecko modules.

We've found that the Grass Valley gear just integrates a lot easier across the board and we couldn't be happier with its performance and reliability.

Travis Butler has served as chief engineer at Manhattan Center Productions for the past four years. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Grass Valley at 800-547-8949 or