Pick Hits NAB2002

A review of this year's hottest new products from the NAB show floor. All products were picked by experts not editors or publishers. This year's expanded panel of judges included top executives from production and post facilities, in addition to the traditional call-letter facilities.
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AJA Video Systems KONA-SD and -HD

Capture cards

These QuickTime cards capture 10-bit, uncompressed video and six-channel AES audio, and are designed specifically to be used with Apple's Mac OS X operating system. They can be used with Apple's Power Mac G4, RAID storage, computer display, video monitor and Final Cut Pro 3 to create a full-featured nonlinear editing system. Computer and video monitors provide a split-screen function that allows Photoshop, After Effects and real-time effects without rendering before output to video. The KONA-SD has 128 MBytes of on-board RAM and supports 525/59.94 and 625/50 video formats. KONA-SD system requirements include a Power Mac G4 with dual 800 MHz processors, 512 MBytes of RAM and hard disk sustained throughput of 40 MBytes/s (80MBytes/s for RT). The KONA HD has 256 MBytes of on-board RAM and supports 1080i 50/59.94/60, 2080p/psf 23.976/24/25/29.97/30, and 720p 23.976/24/25/29.97/30/50/59.94/60 video formats. KONA HD system requirements include a Power Mac G4 with dual 1 GHz processors, 1 GByte RAM and hard-disk sustained throughput of 200 MBytes/s.
800-251-4224; www.aja.com

Asint Video Chameleon Model 201

MPEG player

The Video Chameleon 201 plays MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video/audio files and still images from a CompactFlash or Microdrive memory card. The player is available for either NTSC (720×480) or PAL (720×576) playback. Video output plays through RCA composite or S-video connectors. Audio output plays through stereo RCA connectors. Memory-card port accepts solid-state and Microdrive cards. Other ports include an RS-232 serial port, an Ethernet port and a user-interface port, which can be used for interaction with touchscreens, switches and sensors. Available as a stand-alone unit or as a circuit board for OEMs, the player can be used for applications such as point-of-purchase, training, trade shows and information kiosks. It requires the use of an authoring tool to prepare and program the MPEG data. The device operates from 7 to 25 VDC and consumes 3.6 W. Options include 120 VAC or 240 VAC wall transformer and S-video cable.
877-767-8862; www.asintgroup.com

Axiom AX6113

Data network server

This rack-mount, 19 in. server is 1U high and fits three half-size cards to run three independent systems simultaneously. Applications include high-density clustered systems, server farms and Web site hosting. Each 1/3U system has a half-size CPU card with an Intel 370-pin Pentium III FC-PGA (FSB 133 MHz) CPU that supports a 168-pin DIMM socket (with ECC memory support to correct single-bit errors and detect double-bit errors) for up to 512 MBytes of SDRAM. The onboard C&T 69000 AGP VGA supports CRT/LCD with integrated 2 MByte SDRAM. The half-size CPU cards also feature a Realtek 8139 Ethernet controller with Wake On LAN support. I/O features include two USB connectors, two serial ports, one parallel port, PS2 keyboard and mouse connectors, and one IrDA pin-header for wireless communication. Each unit includes one slim-line CD-ROM drive, one 3.5 in. IDE HDD, a 100 W open-frame power supply and two 4 cm cooling fans.
626-581-3232; www.axiomtek.com

Chyron NewsCrawl Lite

News crawl software

This application for Duet LEX, Duet LE, Duet PCI, DigiBox CODI and Digital pcCODI-based units allows users to insert a lower-third automated news crawl into any program video. The program acquires and displays data provided from sources such as automated feed services for news, sports and financial information; networked file servers; serial port; Web pages; keyboard entry; and built-in dababases. The user can control multiple configuration variables independently and can create a crawl with a distinctive appearance unique to station, channel or organization. Configuration variables include a user-defined background graphic. This graphic can include fixed text and/or station logo, background and font colors, TrueType fonts and characteristics such as size, italics, bold and drop shadows, and crawl rate. Any standard graphic file can be used for the logo, and the optional GPI/O trigger can turn the logo/crawl on and off.
631-845-2000; www.chyron.com

Chyron Sirius

Router

This 7-RU router can be configured in blocks of 8×8 up to 128×128. It supports AES analog and digital audio signals, and analog and digital video signals — including high definition, simultaneously in a single chassis. The different signal formats are configurable in any combination of eight-channel input or output blocks. The router provides analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion, and can route NTSC/PAL inputs to SDI outputs (and vice versa) with no external conversion equipment. The unit monitors input (before the primary crosspoints) and output. Monitor cards provide simultaneous digital and analog outputs of the monitored signal. Control is available through an optional internal control card or ProBel's expandable, Windows-based Aurora control system. The internal control card option provides control panels and UMDs direct from the router. Other options include SNMP via Ethernet. The router has dual hot-pluggable autosensing PSUs. It requires 90 to 264 VAC 50/60 Hz and consumes 500 W.
631-845-2000; www.chyron.com

Devlin Design Group/Darim Vision SoftSet-VS2000 solution

Virtual set system

Darim Vision and the Devlin Design Group share a Pick Hits award for a combination of hardware and software that allows broadcasters to create real-time 3-D virtual sets. The VS2000 system from Darim Vision provides 3-D environments and interactive control of virtual sets without the need for sophisticated camera-motion-tracking technology. Instead, it uses a range of virtual cameras that can be moved within the 3-D graphics environment or zoomed in and out while the physical camera remains still. It supports multiple video sources (live or recorded) and movement of virtual set objects and virtual cameras by predefined animation sequences or in free-hand mode. It can be operated by a single person using on-screen controls and one or more joysticks. The PC-compatible VS2000 hardware uses off-the-shelf 3-D software from Devlin Design Group for the design of 3-D environments that render in real time for news, educational or entertainment programming.
Darim Vision: 925-251-0178; www.darim.com
Devlin Design Group: 858-535-9800; www.ddgtv.com

Director's Friend df-ciniHD and df-ciniFS

Capture/control desk

This portable digital-video capture and processing system captures video and audio directly from camera to hard disk for immediate viewing, managing and processing. The unit has input and output HD-SDI connectors for Y Cr Cb (4:2:2) eight- or 10-bit video. The df-cineFS version can also handle uncompressed RGB (4:4:4) video. Both versions can accommodate eight digital audio channels (4x AES/BSU) with XLR connectors or as embedded audio. The system supports 720p,1035i and 1080i at 59.94/60 Hz, and 1080p/1080sF at 23.98/24/29.97/30 Hz. Video output is selectable as loop through or HD-SDI output. Features include an analog RGB or YUV HD output, LTC I/O, RS-232 remote I/O, analog reference input, built-in video mixer for DVE, 3:2 pulldown, and slow-motion and time-lapse preview. The system has two 14 in., 1024×768 pixel TFT LCD screens, one of which is switchable between HD video and computer desktop. Options include a 17 in., 16:9 HDTV LCD screen, a 6.3 in. LCD waveform monitor and a multichannel audio analyzer.
818-241-8680; www.directorsfriend.com

JVC BC-D2300U

HD upconverter

This device converts material originally shot in the 480i standard-definition video format to 1080i/60i or 720p/60p high-definition formats. It has three aspect ratio conversion modes: 4:3, letterbox and squeeze. In the 4:3 mode, an edge-crop function enables side-edge masking, and the position of the side panels can be moved. In the letterbox mode, it is possible to adjust the vertical position of the top and bottom panels. The unit has one component SDI input and three HD-SDI outputs. The 1RU chassis accommodates additional circuit boards and software for installation in any production environment. An optional BC-D231U plug-in board provides D2 and analog inputs. Optional BC-D323U image-control software enables color correction and variable frequency enhancement.
800-582-5825; www.jvc.com/prof

JVC GY-DV300E/DV301E StreamCorder

Camcorder

This MiniDV camcorder has an attachment that encodes the camcorder's incoming or playback video and audio in the MPEG-4 format, and creates ASF files for streaming news and other events over the Internet. The KA-DV300U network pack attaches to the base of the camcorder and, through a PCMCIA card, to a personal computer. The network pack can also accept a CF solid-state memory card to record ASF files. Streamproducer software, bundled with the pack, installs on the PC to control, stream and display the ASF files. The software also allows up to four GY-DV301E/DV300Es to be connected to a single PC and switch them as required before streaming. The GY-DV301E has DV input and output, while the GY-DV300E has DV output only. Thus, the GY-DV301E can record images and sound onto a CF memory card only, or onto MiniDV tape and a CF memory card simultaneously, whereas the GY-DV300E cannot.
800-582-5825; www.jvc.com/prof

Leader LV5700

Multi-SDI monitor

This multiformat SD and HD SDI monitor conforms to more than 20 standards and accommodates two SDI inputs. Formats include 1080, 720p, 525, 625 and 1035. XGA panel displays waveform, vector, audio, picture and data-monitoring functions individually or in several screen combinations. Error detection and logging facilities include gamut detection and settable error limits. Digital analysis screens include data dump and equivalent cable-length readings. A full 10-bit decoder converts source to Y Cb Cr or RGB. Connectors include 15-pin XGA/VGA output for external monitors, Ethernet and USB ports for remote reporting and control and local control, remote connector for remote control of preset selections, four two-channel pairs of AES/EBU outputs for eight channels of disembedded audio, and SDI I/O.
800-645-5104; www.leaderUSA.com

Miranda iControl

Web site creator

This new version of Miranda's Web site creation utility provides browser-based monitoring and control of audio/video equipment and signals over standard IP networks. It allows users to create custom representations of broadcast installations and facilities. It simplifies the use of Miranda products within a multichannel operation and offers local and remote monitoring of Miranda audio and video equipment, as well as an array of third-party products, through a unified view of all the devices in the system. With it, users can create a customized Web site that provides system status and permits the use of a low-bitrate, low-latency streaming video encoder to monitor signals in remote facilities. It also enables broadcast facilities to monitor and make changes to the configuration and operational parameters of remote equipment.
514-333-1772; www.miranda.com

Miranda Kaleido-K2

Multi-image display system

This device allows a computer monitor to display as many as 32 images simultaneously. It can accept SDI, HD-SDI, VGA, composite-, Y/C- and component-video signals. Each image can be independently sized and positioned, or displayed full screen at up to 1600×1200 pixels. The windows can be configured for 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios. Each input is equipped with a frame synchronizer to monitor asynchronous sources, and a de-interlacing and scaling engine to maintain image quality and minimize artifacts. Multiple tally displays, source IDs, status indicators, clocks and audio level meters can be added to create a customized layout. The unit can accept up to eight display-input modules. Each video input module has four input connectors, and each VGA module has two input connectors. The unit also accepts up to three audio-input modules for monitoring analog, AES or embedded audio signals. Each analog or AES module allows monitoring of 16 stereo channels.
514-333-1772; www.miranda.com

Network Electronics MR-TR-D15

Multi-rate optical converter/transponder

This product can be configured as an electrical-to-optical/optical-to-electrical signal converter, or as an optical-to-optical transponder. The high-definition, multi-rate converter/transponder supports data rates from 19.38 Mbits/s to 1.485 Gbits/s for communication standards such as SDI, HD-SDI, SDH/SONET, Gigabit Ethernet, DVB-ASI and SMPTE 310. It can also accommodate optical refreshing, reclocking and regeneration for a DWDM wavelength for SDH/SONET and Gigabit Ethernet, in addition to all the broadcast signal formats. The device uses UTI channels 20 to 60, offering the flexibility of 40 channels. Using it in a 32-channel configuration offers full bi-directional communication and would be most effective for applications with bi-directional protocols like RS-422 and Ethernet. The card can function in point-to-point, WDM and DWDM environments. Global control is available via TCP/IP and SNMP by using the company's GYDA system controller. Input sensitivity is typically better than -20 dBm. For a 32-channel DWDM system, this sensitivity allows communication over more than 50 km of single-mode optical fiber at 1486 Mbits/s.
+47 33 48 99 99; www.network-electronics.com

Neutrik EtherCon RJ45

Data connectors

These data connectors are applicable for Ethernet networking in audio, commercial, entertainment, live-stage production, DMX lighting protocols, and industrial, outdoor Internet-accessible environments. The line includes both male cable-end carriers and assembled female receptacles. The male cable end offers a die-cast shell as a carrier for pre-assembled RJ45 cables and chuck-type strain relief to reinforce the cable and protect the plug. Female chassis connectors have a secure latching system. The ruggedized receptacles comply with Category-5 requirements according to TIA/EIA and ISO/IEC standards. Each is unshielded and has eight contacts rated at 1.5A. Dielectric strength is 1000 VAC RMS, contact resistance is less than 10 mΩ, and insulation resistance is greater than 500 MΩ. The lifetime of the EtherCon line has been estimated at greater than 1000 mating cycles. The cable carrier is housed in a ZnAl4Cu1 die-cast shell, galvanized Ni or black Cr with a POM strain-relief clamp.
732-901-9488; www.neutrikusa.com

Panasonic iDVR-100/iDVR-200

HD video servers

This Internet-enabled HD MPEG server has a built-in DVD RAM drive and can play back both 44-frame and 60-frame progressive high-definition images, in addition to stereo or optional 5.1-channel surround sound. It can playback approximately 30 minutes of MPEG-2 HD-encoded video at the nominal rate of 19 Mbits/s from a single 4.7 GByte DVD-R or DVD-RAM disk. The iDVR-200 can cache from the DVD disk to an internal hard disk array for longer playback times. Applications include retail, point-of-sale and advertising, as well as museums, conventions, entertainment venues, educational settings and corporate functions. The iDVR-100 is designed for desktop or shelf-mount installation, while the iDVR-200 has a 4-RU rack-mount frame designed for additional hard disk drive array storage and for installation in equipment rooms. Both units are networkable via Ethernet, allowing video content to be distributed to a specific iDVR or any particular group of iDVRs over an IP network.
800-528-8601; www.panasonic.com/broadcast

Sonifex Courier

Portable hard disk audio recorder

Weighing in at 1.5 kg, including media and battery, the Courier is designed for on-location reporting, editing and live commentary. Its two audio inputs accept one stereo or two mono sources at either mic or line level. The device records in most broadcast formats, including linear .wav and MPEG layer 2, at user-selectable data rates onto PCMCIA hard disks or flashcards. Use the Courier to file reports on location by connecting it to a modem or directly to a GSM mobile phone. Perform live reporting with the ISDN version of the recorder or the optional CO-TBU telephone-balance unit. Backlit LCD displays information such as recording levels, battery and disk time remaining. Built-in editing features include jog/shuttle wheel and waveform display. The recorder can be powered by widely available, rechargeable camcorder batteries or by AA-cells with an optional caddy. An internal rechargeable battery allows about one minute to hot-swap the main battery.
207-773-2424; www.sonifex.co.uk

Thomson Viper FilmStream

Camera

This video camera offers several features that allow it to mimic film's contrast range, color reproduction and motion characteristics. Also, it can bypass most of the irreversible signal-processing steps that occur in conventional video cameras, such as gain, white and black balance, and gamma, allowing image adjustments to be made in post production instead. Signals from the camera's three 9.2-million-pixel CCDs are captured with three 12-bit A/D converters and converted to RGB data using logarithmic calculations. The resulting data is then converted to 10-bit data for dual HD-SDI output. The camera uses the frame-transfer principle with a mechanical shutter to mimic the motion characteristics of a film camera. The camera supports 1080p at 24/25/30 fps and 720p at 24/25/30/50/60 fps 16:9 aspect ratio formats. When the camera is set to 720p at 60 fps, slow-motion effects can be achieved at many different playback speeds in post production. The camera can also produce Cinemascope 2.37:1 aspect ratio images without anamorphic lenses.
800-824-5127; www.thomsonbroadcast.com

Videoframe VNODE

Signal monitoring modules

These modules can be configured to monitor video and audio signals for specific characteristics and trigger an indicator, alarm or fault-recovery device, or otherwise communicate with another device, if the signal falls outside the specific characteristics. The modules can perform stand-alone monitoring and can be configured remotely. They communicate with other equipment through GPI inputs, output relays and an Ethernet connection. Six types of modules are available: SGI (one SGI video stream and up to four embedded audio streams), Analog video and audio (one NTSC/PAL video and two audio signals), four analog audio, digital audio (two AES/EBU streams), DTMS tone (four tones), and GPI only. All modules, with the exception of the GPI module, have eight GPI I/O. The GPI-only module has 16 GPI I/O. All modules also have an Ethernet connector and are compatible with 10BaseT and 100BaseT Ethernet.
530-477-2000; www.videoframesystems.com

Visual Circuits Mantis

HD media player

The Mantis is a single-channel, high-definition media player that decodes all 18 ATSC HD formats and plays them back at the 1080i format. Audio playback is either Dolby 5.1 surround sound or MPEG-2 stereo. Applications include retail, museums, trade shows and exhibits, entertainment, training, and corporate communications. The player contains a 40 GByte hard drive and can store approximately 4.5 hours of HD program material at 19.5 Mbits/s. Maximum bit rate is 39 Mbits/s. Larger storage is available as an option. Media can be transferred to the player through the standard DVD drive or over the 10/100 network connector. An RS-232 connector allows the player to be controlled externally. Internal software manages all A/V playback, time/date script creation and playback, allows automatic FTP download of contents and scripts, and logs and uploads all playback activities. Diagnostic software monitors performance and protects high-definition plasma displays from burn-in. The player consumes 250 W and is housed in a 1RU rack-mountable chassis.
800-250-5533; www.visualcircuits.com

Wacom Cintiq 18sx

Interactive pen display

The Cintiq 18sx is a large-format, pressure-sensitive, interactive pen display for high-end graphics design and photo and video editing, including animation. The device features an 18.1 in. diagonal LCD screen with 1290×1024 pixel SXGA resolution and 24-bit color. The pressure-sensitive screen allows the use of a cordless, batteryless pen to draw and manipulate images directly on the LCD screen. Screen report rate is 205 points/s. Five hundred and twelve levels of pen pressure allow users to accurately control line width, intensity and opacity. Contrast ratio is 300:1, brightness is 210 cd/sq.m, and viewing angle is 80 degrees horizontally and vertically. The unit's single cable combines power, video and tablet communications onto a single conductor with industry-standard connectors to reduce desktop clutter. The rotating stand rotates 360 degrees horizontally and from 13 to 70 degrees vertically. Analog and digital interfaces afford backward compatibility with VGA and forward compatibility with the emerging DVI video standard. USB and serial connectors are also provided.
360-896-9833; www.wacom.com

The judges
NAB2002 panel judges are: Jim Baird WEWS Mike Betts Broadcast Training Partners Steven Blumenfeld AOL Jim Boston Industry consultant Greg Doyle Doyle Technology Consultants Bill Emery WEWS Aram Freidman American Museum of Natural History David Lingenfelter The Evers Group Tom Patrick McAuliffe Industry consultant Karl Renwanz VTI Dan Stark Stark Raving Solutions Marcus Weise Marcus Weise & Associates