Broadcast Pix — Ken Swanton, President

Ken SwantonQ. What kind of products or services does your company offer for broadcasters?
Broadcast Pix products create compelling live video, and do so much more cost-effectively than conventional control rooms. Broadcasters use our products as an alternative to a conventional control room to save on purchasing costs and staffing. Our Slate live video production systems streamline production workflow by tightly integrating many devices in to one system (including switcher, multi-view, CG, clip and graphic stores, and aspect and format conversion), and then integrates all this with systems that create clips and graphics, from Avid and Final Cut to Photoshop. Slate costs a fraction of what a conventional control rooms costs, and then saves even more money by enabling a single operator or small team to create highly polished live video. And Slate can upgrade affordably to 3G 1080p, so it saves money again when broadcasters upgrade to this emerging HD video production standard.

Q. What's new that you will exhibit at the NAB Show and what should broadcasters look for there?
We will show our entire family of new Slate G Series systems, and unveil our new 1080p upgrade product. Slate models shown will range from the Slate 100G, which starts at just $10,995, to the big Slate 5000G, the only 2 M/E live integrated production system. The G Series features a new Intel quad workstation that houses the Slate video processing boards and is powerful enough to be upgradable to future 3Gbps 1080p boards. The quad workstation also boosts the Slate's built-in clip and graphics stores to HD and upgrades its built-in Inscriber CG to HD. Plus, we will show new workflow software that streamlines the flow of clips and graphics from edit stations into Slate, even during the middle of a live production. The big surprise at the NAB Show will be when we unveil and demonstrate our 1080p upgrade product, which I know is going to generate a lot of buzz around the industry.

Q. How is your new product offering different from what's available on the market?
Slate is growing so quickly, even in this challenging economy, because it creates great live video economically, but now at the NAB Show the new 1080p upgrade introduction will give Slate the best picture quality, too. Combining the best picture quality with the best value creates a phenomenal product. The world is going to 1080p. That is already apparent went you go to buy a TV set today. Computers are already there, too. And routers have transitioned to this world of 3G, named for its data rate, 3Gbps, which is twice the data rate of conventional HD. Switchers and cameras are next, and Broadcast Pix will be leading the charge. Progressive processing is one of our core competencies, as ever Slate is progressive.

3G 1080p is the future of live video production because it offers several huge advantages over today's conventional HD standard. With twice the data rate, 3G provides better picture quality. As a superset of 1080i and 720p, the new 1080p switchers will provide superior multi-definition support, allowing you to mix together 1080i and 720p cameras and provide both outputs simultaneously without hurting the picture quality of either kind, in contrast to today's "multi-def" switchers. And because 1080p is progressive, switchers can do effects like picture-in-picture with higher picture quality, as there are no motion artifacts. And most significantly, 1080p is becoming ubiquitous, thanks to 1080p TV sets, monitors, computers, projectors, routers, etc. Investing in a Broadcast Pix system means investing in the future.

Q. How has your company been affected by the current economic situation and what are you doing to get through it?
In this economy, a lot of people are discovering us because they need to create compelling video, but have gotten their budget slashed for capital and staffing. As a result, after three years with the same marketing emphasis, we have just changed our marketing theme to highlight how our products "Create compelling live video … cost-effectively." We decided to be very up front about saving money in this economy. People are responding, especially those that were originally going to invest in a conventional control room and the big staff needed to make it create engaging live video. Our new low-cost upgrade path to 1080p, which is just $11,900 for out 1 M/E models, has also been a big draw in this economy, as more and more broadcasters and other customers do not want to invest in an expensive HD switcher, clip store and graphics system today, and then have no economical way to get to 3G 1080p in the future.

Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?
Broadcast Pix is based in Billerica, Mass., and now has offices throughout North America and Europe. Our company has been growing very rapidly and has well over 1,000 systems installed in 70 countries around the world. In addition to great products, we stand behind them with both strong dealers and helpful, knowledgeable phone support people.