Grass Valley Looks to Growth From HDTV

Technical sessions started yesterday at IBC2010, and the exhibition floors just opened this morning (Sept. 10), but early indicators peg 3DTV as one of the top topics for the event. But how much of the interest in 3DTV as a technology ends up in peoples’ living rooms remains in question.

Speaking at a press conference in Amsterdam ahead of the exhibition opening, Grass Valley Senior Vice President Jeff Roscia noted that “3D for home is a niche market for the near future.”

Looking at growth areas for the company, which is in the process of being sold to Francisco Partners by current owner Technicolor , Roscia pointed to the HDTV. While some markets, most notably Japan, are well advanced in the adoption of HD, for much of the world HDTV is still in an introductory phase and the need for HD equipment is strong.

Roscia’s colleague Ray Baldock, vice president for strategic marketing at Grass Valley, went into greater detail about the differences in HD and 3D, noting that while an SD product can be extracted from an HD production, clipping a 4:3 SD frame from a 16:9 HD one, the process of producing simultaneous 2D and 3D content are greater.

3D requires different switching cadences, camera angles and other production considerations that may make simultaneous 2D and 3D production unworkable, Baldock said. From a creative point of view and a technical point of view, programmakers are still learning what they can do with 3D and what they should do.

Noting that the business model for 3D cinema is great, Baldock said that for 3DTV, “We need to see a business model that works.” It could be, he said, that subscription-based specialty channels, for example, might be able to support separate 2D and 3D productions.

During the press conference, Grass Valley unveiled a new line of conversion tools for the ADVC range for handling HD video and 3 Gbps workflows, as well as a new high-resolution LCD color viewfinder for its HD cameras. Additional announcements included extended on-board video clip storage capacity for the Kayenne video production center and Edius 6, the latest version of the company’s multi-format editing software.
— T. Carter Ross