ESPN Taps Thomson For HD Equipment

(November 11, 2003) Paris/Nevada City, CA--ESPN has tapped Thomson Grass Valley for a wide range of equipment for its soon-to-be-launched advanced production center in Bristol, CT. Equipment purchased includes the Grass Valley Kalypso HD Video Processing Center, Trinix large-scale video routing switcher, Apex audio router, Grass Valley LDK 6000 mkII multi-format HD cameras, and Grass Valley Kameleon modular products. The sale is valued at more than $10 million.

For the new facility, ESPN selected Thomson to design and implement one of the largest signal routing systems on the East Coast. The companies have combined multiple Grass Valley Trinix routing switchers configured as a 1024 x 512 I/O matrix for HD video signals and an equally dense Grass Valley Apex router system with 1500 x 800 I/O functionality to handle all in-coming audio sources and convert them to multichannel AES digital audio files.

To support its signal distribution paths ESPN has also ordered a series of Grass Valley Kameleon 16-channel output distribution amplifier modules to route digital audio and video signals throughout the building and in some cases directly to air.

The Grass Valley routers, which will operate under the control of the Grass Valley Encore modular control system software, will be installed later this year.

“Thomson is proud to be working with ESPN on such a monumental project in the network’s history,” said Marc Valentin, president of Thomson Broadcast and Media Solutions. “The Grass Valley product line has become known for its reliability and increased productivity capabilities in large scale environments like the new ESPN Digital Center and we are working hard to help them achieve their goal of delivering high-quality HDTV programs to the American sports-viewing public.”

For its master control and production control rooms, ESPN has purchased several Grass Valley Kalypso HD video production switchers to handle such multicamera shows as "ESPN SportsCenter." The three main studios will be equipped with numerous Grass Valley LDK 6000 mkII HD cameras, three or four per studio. The cameras will be used to shoot programs in ESPN’s preferred widescreen 720p HDTV resolution.

The new ESPN Digital Center will supply programming for the network’s all-HD ESPN HD channel, which is now available to direct broadcast satellite and cable TV systems throughout the U.S.

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