NAB 2008 Pick Hits

Welcome to Broadcast Engineering's Pick Hit awards, the industry's longest-running product technology awards for broadcast and production. With a 24-year history, Pick Hits are the most prestigious technical awards given at NAB.

At the 2008 NAB Show, a panel of independent judges toured the exhibition floor for three days, looking for innovative technology. They then met to make their selections based on multiple criteria, including the technical and financial improvements the products can bring to a facility's operation. Our editors and publishers have no vote in the selection process.

Congratulations to the following 40 manufacturers for their creative technology solutions!

ProPatch Miniature

+33 1 69 11 22 69

Super high-density coax patching system is designed for HD, SDI, AES audio, 5.1 and 7.1 audio applications where coax medium is preferred but space is at a premium; available in 1RU and 1.5RU configurations; the 1RU panel features a patent-pending pullout designation strip that dramatically increases space for text, as well as a high-density 2 × 48 circuit configuration of ports; the 1.5RU unit panel features 4 × 48 ports.

After Effects CS3 Professional


Digital motion graphics and compositing software lets users animate freely using new Shape layers and the Puppet tool, as well as combine moving imagery with still images, text and sound; users can manipulate their creations with hundreds of effects combinations; offers hundreds of customizable animation presets and templates; new Brainstorm feature enables users to select key elements of a layer and experiment with a variety of alternative modifications and effects to it.



SAN network for content creation comes in two chassis sizes; NODE 800 offers eight drives with independent SAS channels supporting up to 8TB of storage, with 4-Gig ports; the drive supports multiple RAID sets, multiple hosts, LUN masking and storage provisioning of all Vdiscs on both ports for switchless file sharing; NODE 2400 is configured with up to 24 drives through four ports, supporting capacities of up to 24TB of RAID storage; upgradable to 8Gb/s Fibre Channel; provides multiple streams up to 1200MB/s.

Emerge ECMS4000

+44 2920 263640

Extender delivers uncompromised digital workstation extension across unlimited distances; provides users with a full desktop computer experience from anywhere on a Gigabit TCP/IP network; can operate on a point-to-point CAT 5 e cable or on a switched GigE network; consists of a transmitter that connects externally to each remote computer with dual DVI-D video connectors and a user station with dual DVI-I connectors, USB connectors and audio ports.


+32 56 368 211

HD reference monitor features a grade-1 LCD display, ensuring a high level of color stability and accuracy for video reference tasks; grade 1 is a standard defined by the EBU that sets requirements for contrast, black levels and brightness; ideal for monitoring fast-moving video; thanks to its high-speed 120Hz panel and scrolling LED backlight technology, it avoids motion blur and judder; offers excellent motion handling and lifelike motion scenes reminiscent of how CRT reference monitors used to show moving video.


Baron Services

HD weather platform combines outlook analysis, worldwide 3-D terrain and high-resolution data; called the HD Elite package, Omni's HD data products include precipitation, wind, winds measured relative to a moving storm, wind shear, hail, hail cores, precipitation rate, and rain and snow accumulations in one-, three-, 12- and 24-hour increments; stations can layer multiple data products and integrate live Baron radar with a true 3-D tower and sweep line.

Broadcast Videohub

Blackmagic Design
+44 1565 830049

Routing switcher supports 3Gb/s SDI; includes 72 SDI inputs, 144 SDI outputs, 72 deck control ports, twin redundant power connections, SDI reclocking and 3Gb/s SDI technology in an 8RU chassis; all connections are grouped together to include an SDI input, SDI output, deck control port and SDI monitor output for each user; has twice as many SDI outputs as inputs, allowing users to control their monitoring without affecting the input of their editing workstation.

ProPrompter HD

Bodelin Technologies
+1 206 545 2584

Teleprompter features a wider hood and mirror for wide-angle shots and lenses; available in either an LCD or Pocket PC version; designed to be safe and solid for handheld, jib or steadicam shots; setup is less than three minutes; comes equipped with the camera-mounted mirror system, PocketPC PDA and prompting software, and a keyboard and mouse; packs away in a custom military-grade storm case; works on any internal focus camera lens with a diameter of 100mm down to 52mm.

Slate 5000

Broadcast Pix

Live production system allows a single operator to run all aspects of a sophisticated 2 M/E live HDTV production, including complex graphics, animations, clips and effects, as well as control robotic cameras, audio mixers and video servers; includes and integrates the functionality of an entire live production control room — switcher, CG, clips store, still store, multi-view monitoring, aspect ratio and format conversion, and video routing.

Flash XDR

Convergent Design

CompactFlash-based portable HD recorder/player uses Sony MPEG-2 CODEC technology; records HD-SDI 1080i/p and 720p video into a high-quality MPEG-2 stream at bit rates up to 100Mb/s 4:2:2 and 160Mb/s 4:2:2 in full raster (1920 × 1080); uncompressed four-channel embedded or two-channel analog audio accompany the video into an MXF file stored on the CompactFlash cards; features an all solid-state package.


EEG Enterprises

HD caption legalizer and relocating bridge seamlessly bridges caption data from one video source to another, as well as relocates caption displays on the screen in response to GPI triggers; ensures compliance of caption data with all DTV captioning standards; fixes common errors introduced in closed captioning flows by SD-to-HDI upconverters or incomplete 608 to 708 translation; regenerates all input caption data into a standardized, fully-compliant data stream, compatible with all MPEG encoder specs.


+44 118 935 0200

Remote control panel features two high-resolution color LCD displays that intelligently interact with the panel's buttons and rotary controls, updating automatically as different operation facilities are selected; each of the 12 LCD buttons can display a multicharacter text string or a graphical image, and can be configured with a menu structure that allows quick navigation though the systems.


+44 118 935 0200

Automatic audio level system offers consistent audio loudness within a channel and/or program, automatic detection and level adjust for loud commercials, gain control within a program interval to preserve audio dynamic range, artifact-free transitions between programs and commercials, and the elimination of drastic volume changes during commercials and interstitials; incorporates an onboard compressor, peak limiter and expander for dynamic range processing; VistaLINK enables control and configuration capabilities via SNMP.


Florical Systems

Instant messaging-styled chat agent ties into Florical's AirBoss system; allows users to subscribe to chat rooms based on programming provided by the local station; prior to the start of the show, the agent will prompt users to connect; once connected, they will enter an exclusive room with other local users that are connected through the local station; features Web banners above the chat room that provide revenue to the local station when users click the ads.


Graham-Patten Systems

Audio monitoring system offers an input mode selector for up to eight AES/EBU data streams or 16 individual audio channels; a setup, learn and clear function — along with 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 surround-sound stereo mix-down selectors — allow users to store custom stereo mix-down formats that are available for recall at any time; designed for nonlinear editing systems operators.

FlexiScope Option 3 Module

+44 1494 729 728

Allows the display of HD-SDI and SD-SDI video and audio signals on the 9000 series range of Hamlet instruments; generator functions independently of the video and audio monitor with 16 available test signals, allowing closed-loop testing; the HD/SD serial input connection is made to the center gold-plated BNC socket, which is internally terminated at 75Ω; a second BNC provides for a video and audio SDI generator, while a third allows an external timing reference or AES audio singal to be input.


+44 118 964 8000

3Gb/s-ready broadcast server builds on the NEXIO and offers an HD/SD architecture; designed to integrate signal quality control, channel branding, multiviewer I/O monitoring and playout automation capabilities in a 3RU chassis; at the heart of the NEXIO AMP platform is a storage architecture built around the AMP MediaCore engine; features a real-time, 64-bit software engine and task-specific multicore CPU/GPU/FPGA procesing; includes support for the patent-pending Harris Intrinsic Mirroring technology, the latest advance in Harris storage protection for SAN-based NEXIO systems.


+44 118 964 8000

All-in-one processor features a linear frame rate conversion option that converts 59.94Hz- and 50Hz-based signals, dual-channel processing for maximum efficiency, and a 3Gb/s upgrade capability designed to allow for an easy, economical move anytime a broadcaster is ready to make the transition to 1080p; offers eight AES inputs and outputs with 32 channels of internal audio processing in a 1RU frame.

PortaMic 5.1


Surround microphone offers professional-grade discrete 5.1 audio quality; measures only 1in; its encoder is equipped with Dolby Pro Logic II encoding technology; this allows the mic's six audio channels to be encoded down to two channels, so it can be recorded to any broadcast camera or stereo recording device; the surround encoded audio is output to both a stereo mini plug and six-pin balanced mini XLR.


Image Video

HD quad-split video processor features four auto-sensing SD/HD-SDI inputs; supports selectable 16:9/4:3 aspect ratios; is powered by Gennum VXP video processors; optional DVI cascade input allows up to four united to form a 16-input display system.



Adaptive real-time noise reduction unit identifies and suppresses broadband environmental noise, phone line artifacts and similar artifacts in audio content; detects noise in real time and automatically adapts to changing noise over time, significantly improving the sound quality of live audio in situations like location production and live call-in shows; residual noise switch lets users quickly preview the noise being removed.


Linear Acoustic

Two-channel to 5.1-channel surround upmixer creates an infinitely adjustable multichannel signal that is completely downmix-compatible; based on the upMAX 2251, the UPMAX:neo shrinks the footprint to a compact, roadworthy 1RU chassis; metadata input is standard, along with GPI inputs to control upmixing; additional upmixing choices are added to the original upMAX algorithm for increased flexibility in post-production applications; options include an eight-channel monitoring-grade balanced analog output with remote volume, mute and return to reference inputs.

MassChannel DIY

+61 2 9456 0026

File-based broadcast transmission appliance supports both SD and HD; designed to be a cost-effective way to deploy additional channels and manage multicast programming; gathers and stores file-based content and decodes it to SD and/or HD; playout via HD-SDI and SD-SDI is supported; playlists can be assembled using mixed HD and SD material; all content is automatically up/downconverted and can be used to simulcast both an SD and HD channel; provides advanced graphics features with internal key and support of popular external branding devices.


+44 1895 827300

Portable I/O package for the Mac provides broadcast-quality up/down/crossconversion; designed to streamline editing workflow with Apple Final Cut Studio and Adobe Production Premium on MacBook Pros and Mac Pros; enables users to benefit from file-based workflows with native support for XDCAM, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX and P2; users are not limited to using a single code; is lightweight, fits in a laptop bag and runs for hours on a field battery; features HDMI input, output and monitoring with calibration controls including blue only.

DT12 cable tester

Nemal Electronics

Automatic cable tester provides fast and comprehensive testing for all DT12 to DT12 or DT12 to XLR cable assemblies and break-out boxes; features male and female inputs for both DT12 and XLR connectors in order to provide immediate and simultaneous verification and identification of each pair; detects shorts and opens, including shorts to the XLR shell; features an easy-to-read LED display.


NTT Electronics
+81 45 453 3685

HVE9100 AVC/H.264 encoder and HVD9100 decoder support both HD (1080p, 1080i and 720p HD) and SD (480i and 576i) as well as a maximum of two audio audio systems, for a total of eight-channel encoding and decoding; also support the MPEG-2 format; features low latency, Dolby Digital (AC-3) pass through, user-friendly front-panel operation, ancillary data transmission support, built-in SNMP functionality and a Web-based GUI; is RoHS-compliant.

VariCam 2700 & VariCam 3700

+49 611 235 481

Solid-state camcorders feature master-quality, full-resolution 10-bit 4:2:2 AVC-Intra 100 recording; also offer variable frame rates in one-frame increments, HD-SDI output of 23.98PsF/24PsF and a multi-gamma function, including Film-Rec, which closely matches the latitude of film stocks; VariCam 2700 is designed for sports, documentaries and independent films, while the VariCama 3700 is designed for feature films, TV episodics and commerical production.

DVStation-Mini TSP

+41 56 6410 317

Portable transport stream analyzer for DTV compliance testing of terrestrial broadcasting, cable headend testing, and satellite uplink contribution and distribution applications has a single ASI or SMPTE-310 test input; can be used as a portable test device or as a 1RU rack-mounted unit; signals can be monitored over LAN or Internet connection using a simple Web browser or VNC remote user interface; offers a full suite of transport stream analysis and monitoring tools; displays video thumbnails and video parameters in a concise and clear format.

Morpheus ICE

+44 118 986 6123

Standalone automation and master control system in a 3RU box supports a wide range of SD and HD video file formats, removing the transcode bottleneck; features at least 1TB of internal RAID storage, as well as connection to external network attached storage; this internal capacity equates to at least 100 hours of DV25, devoted to caching media for playout; includes a fully featured mixer; offers support for four external video inputs for live sources as well as fades, mixes and wipes from internal sources; can manage audio voiceovers using either embedded audio or the 16 discrete AES/EBU audio inputs.

BQ 20


Video archive system combines a 20-slot LTO 4 cartridge robotic tape library with a high-performance server containing 2TB of built-in hard disk storage that is configurable as JBOD or RAID levels 0, 1 or 5; archives more than 1440 hours of 25Mb/s MPEG-2 content for automated retrieval in 7RU; can easily be expanded to 44 slots, more than doubling capacity to 3168 hours; a second tape drive can be added for concurrent reading and writing; all tapes are controlled by a barcode, designed to make retrieval from the shelf fast and easy.


RME Audio

PCI card with MADI interface offers full support for 56- and 64-channel modes, as well as double- and single-wire technology (96k frame) for 96kHz; all 64 inputs and 64 playback channels can be routed and mixed to 64 physical outputs freely, which translates to a 8192-channel mixer; features an analog 24-bit 96kHz line/headphone output with 110dB dynamic range for direct control of all input and output signals.

Vision QMD/X

Ross Video

Production switcher line offers a choice of seven different control panel models, two rackframe sizes and three configurations; control panel models include the Vision 1, 1M, 2, 2M, 2X, 3 and 4; QMD chassis is a compact 3RU, offering four full four-keyer MEs and 48 multidefinition inputs; the QMD/X chassis offers four full four-keyer MLEs, six keys downstream and 96 multidefinition outputs; can be ordered in four keyer multidefinition, two keyer multidefinition or four key standard-definition configurations.



Digital media distribution management suite increases the efficiency of content creation, management and distribution within a digital media supply chain; gives users flexibility in designing globally distributed workflows to automate steps such as encoding content for deliverability; ensures seamless management, acceleration and security of file transfers.


+44 1256 355011

Camcorder offers similar functionality to the PMW-EXI in a semi-shoulder design; features an interchangeable lens system, genlock, timecode and remote-control capability; the 1080i/720p switchable unit has an HDMI digital connection for use with an external monitor; has HD-SDI in/out, making it well suited for recording live HD content as well as dubbing other formats; the deck can also be used as an SxS PRO card reader/writer and for feeding content to existing HD and/or SD nonlinear editing systems.


Thomson Grass Valley
+33 1 34 90 31 00

Content repurposing and multidistribution system offers a suite of automated tools that allow the simultaneous production of Web, mobile and IPTV broadcast materials in real time for both live and on-demand applications; is an option for the Ignite integrated production system; helps manage content throughout the production chain; enables stations to add more commercial spot avail time to existing content, while allowing them to create more content and cut down on technical errors.


+1 763 971 4400

Camera control unit for Sony robotic PTZ cameras features three CMOS mega-pixel sensors and a 20X optical zoom lens; lets users adjust color, gain and iris functions on the camera; these controls allow the camera to deliver a more accurate representation of the image that is being captured; other benefits include the ability to color match multiple cameras and eliminate the need to use automatic exposure and color settings; delivers genlock signal over CAT-5 cabling.

XNG A600

Troll Systems

Fully self-contained receive site includes a six-channel diversity receiver, steerable high-gain directional antenna, five reconfigurable slotted dipole antennas with overlapping coverage totalling more than 360 degrees, and a remote-control package that provides power and communications; designed to be easy to install and operate; once the receive channel has been set, the A600 manages the link between the RF source and receiver; when one of the sector antennas detects a signal, the steerable high-gain antenna is automatically peaked and moved to improve signal strenth, continuously optimizing its point to position during transmission.


Utah Scientific
+39 0362 330001

Offers a 1056 × 1056 matrix in a single equipment rack; developed to provide a single platform for all digital router applications requiring extremely large matrix configurations; uses industry-standard 75Ω BNC connectors for I/O; offers redundant power supplies, low power consumption for cooler and more reliable operation, and signal format flexibility — including the ability to handle 3Gb/s progressive-scan HD signal formats.

Touch-It Digital


Multichannel video monitor and controller provides real-time monitoring and routing of up to 16 channels of multirate HD/SD-SDI video in 3RU; offers an LCD on the left with touch-screen capabilities that can display from four to 16 thumbnail images, which automatically scale to fill the screen; when an image is touched, the corresponding video source appears on the right LCD monitor at full size, and its HD/SD-SDI source signal is sent to BNC outputs; the multiview touch screen is also duplicated on a VGA output for monitoring on a larger external display.



High-resolution audio mixer/recorder for reality television, surround recording and ENG has no moving parts, making it ideal for use over the shoulder, in a sound bag or on a cart; features multitrack capabilities and eight output busses; records to two CompactFlash cards simultaneously, ensuring 100 percent solid-state recording that provides redundancy; four balanced AES inputs with sample rate conversion allow eight channels of audio to come from four different devices with varying sample rates or unlocked sample rate clocks; can mix together 16 inputs to eight output busses for recording up to eight tracks.