Switchers and Routers at the 2012 NAB Show

Keep it simple, people. The technology behind the box is anything but, but switcher and router manufacturers at NAB this year came to showcase solutions that kept that simplistic mantra in mind: easier-to-use touchpanels and easy to program buttons conceal technology that is designed to make the control and routing of myriad signals as easy as, well, the touch of a button.

Ken Swanton (R) demonstrates Broadcast Pix Version 3 for Damon Stewart from Advanced Digital Video.
BHV Broadcast
was at NAB to talk about its mini solutions, including the new Callisto Pico, an entry-level digital switcher designed for smaller operations like Webcasting productions.

Blackmagic Design showcased the ATEM 2 M/E production switcher with software that adds audio mixing capability, allowing a user to mix embedded audio from SDI and HDMI inputs, plus audio from media players or the switcher’s own external audio input.

Broadcast Pix introduced Video Control Center 3.0 software for its Granite and Mica video control centers, which features optimized production control on a touch-screen as well as voice-automation control of switching and graphics and customizable virtual sets.

Pierre Derouin (L) with Sheridan College learns about the new FOR-A HVS-4000 3M/E digital video switcher from Joseph Interisano.For-A introduced the HVS-390HS, a compact video production switcher available in 1 M/E and 2 M/E versions that includes 16 HD/SD-SDI inputs and eight outputs (expandable to 24 inputs and 13 outputs), with frame synchronizers for all inputs.

The Karrera video production center made its U.S. debut in the Grass Valley booth. The new lower-cost switcher platform comes in two flavors: 4RU and 8RU with frame configurations from 1 to 4.5 M/Es.

Ikegami showcased a new multiformat HD/SD production switcher, the HSS-330, designed for high-end broadcast applications and available in a 3-, 2-, or 1-M/E configuration with up to 48 inputs and 24 outputs. It features a 3RU frame and can be used with an optional RAM recorder and external 3D DVE.

Chad Heupel of the FDA gets a rundown on the Grass Valley Karrera from Bob Crites of Grass Valley.NewTek unveiled TriCaster 8000 for covering live video for large, complex events. The system introduces extensive integration and customization options that include unlimited scalability with third party router support, recordable macros that can be triggered simultaneously, along with extensive effects and graphics capabilities with eight M/E rows.

Panasonic introduced an SDK and API to enable the development of versatile custom plug-in programs for its AV-HS410 HD/SD “smart” switcher, which marks a first for any Panasonic professional video product. V2.0 of AV-HS410 switcher firmware is available as a free upgrade to all HS410 owners.

Jason Pruett (R) demonstrates the NewTek Tricaster 8000 control surface for John Powell from Webstream Sports.Pixel Power, which had to build a new booth 48 hours before the show due to shipping delays, used the occasion to tout the disaster recovery capabilities of ChannelMaster, its dedicated on-air hardware platform with built-in storage, graphics, DVE, audio, subtitling, master control switching and live feed/long-form playout. The company also demonstrated the newest version of its BrandMaster integrated production system.

Ross Video launched a host of new products at NAB, including new software for the company’s Vision QMD and Octane production switchers as well as the new Carbonite C1M midsize production switcher.

Rushworks showcased the newest generation of its production systems including the REMO II portable multicamera production system and the VDESK II studio production system.

Snell was on hand to introduce a smaller-frame version of the Kahuna 360 video switcher. The 6RU Kahuna 360 Compact is designed for live production and offers 1080p switching for OB trucks, studio productions, houses of worship and other live production applications.

John Carter (R) of Snell gives a presentation on the Snell Kahuna 360 Connect production switcher to Hwang Young of SK Technology.

For the production environment, Sony showcased compact options, like the MCS8M compact audio/videomixing switcher, as well as 3D-capable switchers such as the multiformat MVS-7000X.

The latest release of the WO Master Control solution was demoed by WideOrbit, which showcased how the system can provide up to 16 channels of HD/SD, master control switching, graphics, automation and storage in a single IT server rack.

With an eye on smart pricing, Blackmagic Design showcased its line of routers and control panels, including the Micro Videohub, Smart Videohub and Compact Videohub, all designed to offer 3 Gbps SDI routing in a compact size.

DNF Controls showed off its new Production Control Application, which is part of the Flex Control Network for control of video and graphic playout devices. The company also showed the new Tally Control System.

For those in the live production arena, Evertz showed off the next-generation of the MAGNUM control system.

New solutions from Gefen included the 8x8 Matrix switcher, which offers eight HDMI inputs to all eight HDMI outputs. It offers full cross-point routing among eight sources and displays.

Harris showed off its brand of Platinum routers, which feature multiviewer signal processing and monitoring, audio mux/demux, and frame synchronization.

Miranda Technologies launched the NV8140 router, a new member of the NV8500 Enterprise Class router series that offers redundant power supplies, control cards and crosspoints in a 8 RU 144x288 matrix.

Orad’s new TD Control solution, designed for news, sports and fast-turnaround events, can allow a technical director to switch on air from six video sources to different sources with the click of a button.

Pesa released its new Cattrax Web browser-based router control software system. It also unveiled the new PRO-3GSDI-1616 routing switcher, part of the Pesa PRO line of professional AV routers, and the new TOUCH 72 remote control panel with 72 programmable LCD pushbutton switches in an 18x4 configuration.

Roland Systems Group debuted the Roland V-800HD, a multiformat live video switcher that features a built-in multiviewer output; eight mixing channels that provide connectivity to 3G/HD/SD-SDI, DVI-A/DVI-D/HDMI, RGB, component, and composite formats; and a key-compositing engine and external keyer. The company also introduced the VR-3 audio mixer/video switcher for live production and Web streaming.

Sierra Video launched the new line of Aspen 3G compact routers. The ruggedized Aspen family offers a small form factor, light weight and front control panels. The routers offer signal integrity over cable of more than 175 feet at 3 Gbps.

A new 4RU version of the Vega routing platform made its debut in the Snell both. Offering fiber or coax connectivity, the Vega is a 192-port device that allows users to configure signal ports independently. Snell also showed off new hybrid processing technology that’s part of its Sirius 800 series of routers. The new Sirius 830 was on display, a 15 RU model.

New additions to the Thor-S KVM switcher product line were on display by Telecast, including the Thor MR 8X8 HDMI and DVI matrix routers.

Thinklogical expanded its video routing options with the MX48 router, a compact, high bandwidth, protocol-agnostic solution for end-to-end routing of video and peripheral signals over multi-mode or single-mode fiber-optic cable.

Thomson Video Networks launched a new version of the Amethyst III redundancy switcher with four gigabit Ethernet interfaces. By adding a new IP interface to its existing ASI one, the Amethyst III allows operators to migrate to an all-IP architecture.

Utah Scientific showed off the new UCP-LC control panels for the UTAH-400 series of routing switchers, which offer 16 or 32 buttons in a 1RU package, and a 3RU panel with touchscreen LCD displays.

Susan Ashworth is the former editor of TV Technology. In addition to her work covering the broadcast television industry, she has served as editor of two housing finance magazines and written about topics as varied as education, radio, chess, music and sports. Outside of her life as a writer, she recently served as president of a local nonprofit organization supporting girls in baseball.