Acquisition of Nucomm, RF Central to enhance ENG options, Gepner says

Station engineers looking to fulfill their stations’ 2GHz TV BAS relocation obligation and position their news operations for an HD ENG future will not suffer a loss of systems from which to choose as a result of last month’s announcement that Vitec Group had acquired RF Central and Nucomm, according to the company’s CTO Jerry Gepner.

While there will likely be a consolidation of back office operations, both companies will maintain their separate brands and sales forces, he said. “There’s room in the market place for both,” he said. In fact, existing under the same corporate umbrella will allow each to round out its portfolio of solutions by recommending the products of the other when appropriate, he said.

Since last month’s acquisition of the companies, Vitec has held “very positive” conversations with Sprint Nextel on the 2GHz TV BAS relocation project, identifying areas the telecommunications company has seen as bottlenecks and where RF Central and Nucomm can be helpful, Gepner said.

Additionally, broadcasters will see benefits from the sale of both companies to Vitec Group because “to the extent that we offer product, installation and support — in warranty and out of warranty,” the companies will be able to offer “a one-stop shop” solution, he said.

In terms of advancing the technology needed to acquire HD in the field affordably, Gepner said, the companies will be bringing HD camera back transmitters to market during the next six months that will be field upgradeable to the latest encoding algorithms through the use of field programmable gate arrays.

“The beauty of FPGA is you can load a new core into the existing FPGA without having to make any hardware changes, and all of a sudden the box does something different,” he said. “It’s still expensive, but it’s probably not as expensive as buying dedicated hardware. And it’s a lot more seamless, so somebody can buy technology now.”