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Bringing the VTR into the 21st century, Thomson Multimedia & Broadcast Solutions has introduced the iVDR, (Intelligent Video Digital Recorder), a new product that blends video tape recording capabilities with digital storage media.

The new product is part of Grass Valley's M-Series and is designed to address broadcasters' increasing use of IT-based networks and digital storage. According to company executives, the iVDR will not replace VTRs, rather it takes advantage of digital technology to enhance the management of digital tape and support multiple formats.

The company announced its first purchase order for the M-Series; Media General Broadcast Group has ordered dozens of iVDRs to install in at least 10 of its 26 broadcast properties over the next year.

With a digital design and a familiar touch-screen interface, the four-rack unit supports traditional VTR capabilities, including playback, record, removable media and the ability to ingest directly from a camera. Beyond basic VTRs, however, the iVDR supports multiple channels, simultaneous playout and recording, network support, clip editing and trimming, playlist creation, as well as the ability to exchange material with a variety of applications using standard protocols. It features industry-standard optical media and an architecture that can accommodate any media drive in a standard-sized bay.

Key vendors have already announced support for the iVDR, including Encoda Systems, Florical Systems, DNF Controls, Crispin Corp., Sundance Digital and Dixon Sports.

The "M" in the product name stands for "multiple markets and multiple formats," according to Mike Cronk, General Manager, Digital News Products for Grass Valley. "We've targeted this toward sport arenas, mobile production, broadcast studios and corporate and government applications, so this has a broad reach, much more than any one particular product really has had before," Cronk said.

The iVDR will start shipping in July.
Copyright 2003 NAB