Thomson shifts focus, leverages existing and new technology

Thomson’s Grass Valley Kayak HD switcher has been improved with the choice of a 2M/E panel.

Citing projected buying trends and billion dollar market sizes that dwarf the broadcast industry, Thomson said it is reorganizing its considerable resources and marketing efforts to reflect a greater concentration on the professional audio-visual customer, as well as media asset management implementation, turnkey system integration and remote monitoring services.

Thomson’s Grass Valley broadcast technology and systems remain its main focus. The company introduced a number of new products among its various product families, including news cameras (LDK 400 and 4000) and recording and transmission systems (Digital Triax and DigiLink), a new Kayak HD switcher, and several versions of an integrated production system that combines the video assets of Parkervision, which Thomson purchased last year, and Thomson’s Grass Valley digital production technology.

At its annual Pre-NAB press conference in Southern California last week, Marc Valentin, president of Thomson Broadcast & Media Solutions, said customers want to manage their content, not physical media assets like videocassettes, and are looking for an inexpensive way to do so. He also reported that the ProAV market - including churches, corporations, colleges and institutions - represented more than $18 billion in 2003 and would double by 2009. In contrast, the broadcast market revenues overall was more than $8.7 billion in 2003.

ProAV introductions
Addressing ProAV directly, Thomson introduced a new line of products and systems, made up of existing and new Grass Valley technology, called the ProLine family. It will be available through resellers and Thomson directly in the months to come. Several new product and system offerings will be announced at Infocomm in June.

Asset management initiatives
In the area of asset management, Thomson unveiled its new digital media asset Maximization (dMAX) initiative that targets a variety of single- and multichannel infrastructures. It includes Thomson’s NetCentral remote monitoring and diagnostics software as well as its C2MD facility management services, and a new OnCall service-level agreement. The agreement enables customers to contract with Thomson for the development and maintenance of end-to-end workflows. Both programs are designed to keep customers up and running in the event of equipment failure.

The new marketing program leverages many of the Grass Valley Digital News Production (DNP) product families, which address the entire production process, from ingest to edit to playout.

Thomson has deployed its file management technology at nearly 30 sites worldwide, including more than a dozen ABC and NBC O&O stations; CNBC (pictured) and the World Wide Wrestling network.

This includes the Grass Valley FeedClip interactive feed capture system; M-Series iVDR; NewsBrowse Web-based browser/editor; NewsEdit XT NLE; NewsEdit LT laptop-based NLE; NewsEdit SC software-based NLE; NewsQ manual playback system; NewsQ pro automated news playback system; network attached storage system (NAS); Open SAN architecture; Profile XP media platform servers and new Profile 6G server family.

All of these products include a myriad of file and clip management features and the ability to locate and retrieve specific audio or video files from any PC desktop on a network. Thomson has deployed its file management technology at nearly 30 sites worldwide, including more than a dozen ABC and NBC O&O stations; CNBC and the World Wide Wrestling network. It will also show Aurora, a new suite of software products, to automate the required processes.

NAB2005 preview
At NAB2005 in April, Thomson will also show a new Grass Valley NewsEdit HD system, which allows users to perform real-time HD editing and transitions, with the same familiar workflow and user interface tools now available for SD projects. This will minimize training on the NewsEdit HD system and help accelerate the migration to HD news production.

Towards the end of the first day of Thomson’s two-day press conference, in Palm Springs, Dr, Kumar Ramaswamy, a senior technologist with Thomson, outlined the potential viability of the TV distribution platforms—cable, satellite, Telco and terrestrial broadcast—and surmised that satellite had the best chance for success going forward. As for the broadcast industry, he said, “they have to do something different than what they are doing now. I’m not sure what that is, but they have to do something differently.”

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