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Echolab & Crystal Vision Form Partnership

Echolab and Crystal Vision have announced a technology and marketing partnership. The agreement gives US video switcher manufacturer Echolab the opportunity to offer its customers a comprehensive interface solution, and provides UK manufacturer Crystal Vision with an excellent sales and support network for customers in North America.

At the heart of the partnership is a range of jointly-developed products that help connect digital studio equipment to an analogue infrastructure. With high quality and value for money their aim, the two companies have initially developed three converter products to integrate with Echolab's switchers. The universal analogue to digital converter takes in YUV, Y/C or composite NTSC/PAL from an analogue source such as a camera, tape machine or graphics generator and converts it to SDI for Echolab's Nova range of digital switchers. The inclusion of a framestore allows for untimed inputs or delays within the studio. The second product is a universal digital to analogue converter used to take the switcher outputs to analogue equipment such as displays and tape machines: it converts SDI to RGB, YUV, Y/C or composite NTSC/PAL. A 10 bit aspect ratio converter is also available for use with the switchers.

Echolab will additionally be selling the 60 Crystal Vision interface and keying modules in the US. Echolab dealers will be trained in the full range of Crystal Vision equipment and will be able to offer sales support throughout North America.

An Echolab frames system has been developed to house the boards. It offers complete flexibility, with the mixing of HD and SD video and audio modules in four frame sizes: 4U, 2U, 1U and desk top box. It is fully compatible with the Crystal Vision Indigo frames, and Echolab and Crystal Vision boards can be freely mixed in either frames system.

In addition to its very strong broadcast customer base, Echolab switchers are very popular with churches, sports stadiums and colleges. The partnership will therefore enable these markets to now have access to the full Crystal Vision product range.

Echolab President John Antretter commented: "Echolab is a very serious company owned and managed by very serious people. The addition of a strong partnership with Crystal Vision increases our co-operative intellectual bandwidth, and enables Echolab to transfer its industry leading technology to complimentary products. Beyond technology, a successful partnership is built around good people. Because of the strength of our relationship and our mutual desire to succeed coupled with our combined resources, together we will create very valuable visionary products. We are sure that success lies in products that are adaptable to the great changes that are happening in broadcast market place. With Echolab and Crystal Vision as partners we intend to lead the way!"

Crystal Vision's Managing Director, Philip Scofield, added: "The joint Echolab and Crystal Vision products are a natural fit at the heart of the television studio. I am delighted about the enthusiasm generated by this partnership. The customer is bound to benefit from the fun we have had working together!"

Based in Boston in the USA, Echolab has been an innovator in live video production equipment for 30 years, providing both analogue and digital video switchers to the broadcast, business, educational, religious, sports and government sectors globally. Echolab promises to exceed product, price and service expectations through rational innovation, effective collaboration and open communication. The company is launching the Nova identity4 digital switcher on Booth C4915 at NAB.

Based just outside the high-tech city of Cambridge in the UK, Crystal Vision was founded nine years ago by Philip Scofield. Multi-channel broadcasters, OB vehicles, systems houses and post production facilities across the world trust Crystal Vision to provide them with leading edge modular interface and chroma keyers. The interface products include converters, encoders, decoders, distribution amplifiers, synchronisers, aspect ratio converters, routing switches, video delays, colour correctors and audio embedders. The company will be launching the first affordable HD chroma keyer on NAB Booth SU6361.