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Avid Technology, Inc., announced the immediate availability of version 2.5 of the AirSpeed multi-purpose video ingest and playout server. This new version can run in an Avid Unity shared-storage environment and, for the first time, as a standalone video server. As a standalone system, AirSpeed 2.5 can connect directly to Avid editing workstations over a network and provide direct ingest and playout to and from these systems. Offering greater accessibility to small- and mid-sized broadcasters, AirSpeed 2.5 also delivers several new features, including support for 720p/50 formats for streamlined HD ingest on PAL projects.

"KTBS was a beta test site for AirSpeed 2.5 and the experience convinced us of the viability and value of AirSpeed as a standalone solution," said Dale Cassidy, director of engineering at KTBS in Shreveport, LA. "AirSpeed, working in conjunction with our Avid NewsCutter editors, can speed the process of getting content to air and play a key role in transitioning from conventional tape decks to a server-based system."

The AirSpeed system integrates easily with existing equipment, applications and processes—including third-party automation systems—enabling broadcasters to get stories to air efficiently and cost-effectively. The system is available either with front-panel video control and monitoring, which includes new on-screen display (OSD) functionality showing comprehensive information about clips during ingest and playout, or with increased storage capacity (in place of the front-panel monitoring controls) for HD workflows. Regardless of whether the AirSpeed 2.5 system is running within an Avid Unity production environment or as standalone device, the system offers tight interoperability with Avid's industry-standard nonlinear editing systems.

"The broadcast world is fast-moving and, as broadcasters of all sizes try to keep pace, the AirSpeed solution offers significant time savings at both the beginning and end of the production workflow," said Johnathon Howard, director of on-air product management, Avid. "This latest version makes AirSpeed's unprecedented speed, reliability, and support of HD and uncompressed SD production from capture to playout available to a wider range of broadcasters than ever before, especially stations with smaller budgets."

In addition to operating as a standalone system, AirSpeed 2.5 boasts several other key new features including:

  • Direct output of longitudinal time code (LTC), eliminating the time and expense of separating time code tracks from ingested video and audio;
  • 720p/50 ingest when linked to Avid's DNxchange HD encoding device for streamlined HD workflows emerging in Europe;
  • Automatic head frame capture for each clip in Avid Unity MediaManager and Avid Interplay, making it easier for editors to identify and retrieve the right media at a glance;
  • Backup domain name system (DNS) server support to ensure continued operation in the event of a DNS server failure;
  • On-screen display of available storage when tied to an Avid Unity centralized storage system, so that editors know exactly where to store media;
  • Bandwidth optimization tool for use when ingesting media into an Avid Unity ISIS(TM) media network, ensuring efficient media transfers, and;
  • Support for next generation of iNEWS Command playback automation-assisted system for any MOS-enabled or iNEWS newsroom.

Avid AirSpeed 2.5 is available now in a standard configuration for $18,000 USMSRP, or a version with four times greater storage capacity and without front-panel controls and monitor for $20,000 USMSRP. Current AirSpeed customers under the Avid Assurance program can upgrade to AirSpeed 2.5 for free on the Avid Download Center.