Reinforcing the trend of high-definition sports production in Europe and around the world, Thomson held its IBC 2008 press conference in the stadium of Amsterdam’s professional team, Ajax. The event provided a look at the company’s strategy for addressing broadcasters’ desire to create content and distribute it to a variety of platforms in a single workflow.
Didier Trutt, the new senior vice president of Thomson’s systems division business unit, led things off by spotlighting the many markets that the company addresses in its products and systems. With tools that make content available “everywhere across the entire content chain,” Thomson technology now spans every application, from traditional broadcast to the Internet (webcasting), IPTV (digital signage) and mobile video. Stating that broadcasters have now become “broadercasters” in order to stay competitive, Trutt conveyed that the company can offer the full breath of professional technology: “from the headend to the home.”
Patrick Montilaud, senior vice president of networks and integration solutions within the systems division, explained the need for compression in a multiplatform world and how the company’s ViBE encoder family is helping customers send high-quality video to large-screen HDTV sets as well as small-screen cell phones. “Mobile TV starts and ends with video quality,” he said.
With Thomson’s products, it’s now possible to send more audio and video down less bandwidth. This means customers can launch new services cost-effectively and continue to grow their business as the need arises.
Montilaud unveiled new Elite transmitters, enhancements to the SmartVision Content Delivery Network, and a new NetProcessor unit, which helps synchronize a group of transmitters to ensure that mobile TV signals reach subscribers reliably.
Jeff Rosica, senior vice president of Thomson’s broadcast and professional solutions within the systems divisions, introduced the company’s comprehensive product offerings shown at IBC in the area of HD video production. Among the many new products, the new LDK 8300 super slow-motion camera was demonstrated on the field. As two players from the Ajax team kicked a soccer ball between them, the camera captured all of their acrobatic motions, and the resulting images were displayed in real time. It was captivating to watch the Ajax players juggle the ball to the right of the screen, while simultaneously on-screen their motions were slowed down to reveal their considerable skills. The LDK 8300 camera was similarly used during the Olympic Games in China.
Beyond sports, the company continues to have an impact on the big screen. While Thomson sold its film imaging business to a German venture capital firm days before the IBC conference, it was announced during the press conference that the new Brad Pitt movie “Benjamin Button” was shot with four Viper FilmStream cameras. It was also stated that Thomson’s Technicolor business continues to be an important part of the company’s commitment to the production and post-production of motion pictures.