NAB: Snell Launches Automation System

Sinclair Broadcast Group has been beta-testing the automation system across its stations.

Snell—the company formed by the merger of Pro-Bel and Snell & Wilcox—announced several new and enhanced products Sunday at the 2009 NAB Show, stressing commitment to service and ways for customers to move forward even under tough economic conditions.

Among what’s new at NAB: The company is unveiling an automation solution based on its Kahuna multiformat production switcher. The offering uses technology from Mosart Medialab and integrates with newsroom systems via a MOS gateway to control almost all the other gear in the newsroom.

Sinclair Broadcast Group has been beta-testing the automation system across its stations.

The Kahuna itself performs simultaneous SD and HD operations in the same mainframe, mixing multiple sources into the newscast. The company has added new features to its flagship switcher, including new capabilities targeted to 3D acquisition in live production—a function that was used during an NBA pre-All-Star game event broadcast to theaters nationwide earlier this year. The newest Kahuna also includes new software—K-Watch—supporting the creation of files in the IT domain and transparent placement of those files onto the switcher without disrupting operations, letting broadcasters easily publish nameplates and lower-thirds to a Kahuna switcher or share files among networked switchers..

Snell is keeping the Pro-Bel brand going with the release of the new Pro-Bel 800 Series SD/HD/ 3Gbps router, packing up to 1152x1152 inputs and outputs and a rich profile of features from the best of both Pro-Bel and S&W. It also brings a new diagnostic feature, Catsii, which uses multicolored LEDs to illuminate BNC connectors to quickly indictate what’s connected and valid. It can even light up the router with a crosshair pattern to help navigate connections.

Snell has strengthened its Morpheus control and monitoring platform, including features that allow customers to take more conrol of their organizations. Now, MC can monitor all the products of a broadcast facility in a single graphical view.

As an example of using the right tools to save money, Snell cited CNBC , which heard the call from its viewers to run in HDTV and figured the cost might hit as much as $40 million—and CNBC viewers wouldn’t have tolerated stretched-out SD. But with the channel’s heavy emphasis on scrolling text and other graphics, it instead stuck with its SD cameras, and used the Quasar Ph.C upconverter to bring top-flight graphics to the SD image, creating an effective hybrid product (described here in TV Technology.)

Elsewhere in standards conversion, Snell is demonstrating the new MachHD, a compact and cost-effective mid-range addition to company’s lineup, which also includes the high-end Alchemist Ph.C-HD and the CVR700 linear frame-rate converter.

Snell is showing these products and many more—it has 30 new modular infrastructure products—at NAB Booths SU1917, SU1717.