NAB 2010: Brighter Days Ahead

Buzz over 3D, mobile DTV helps boost turnout in Vegas

The crowd was still far smaller than in the industry’s
boom years, but the overall mood at the National
Association of Broadcasters convention in Las
Vegas last week seemed sunnier than the 2009 show.
While broadcasters are consumed with a battle to retain
their spectrum in the face of the FCC’s broadband plan,
they are also starting to buy new equipment again, say
vendors, as advertising revenues slowly recover. ¶ That
trend was reflected by the NAB’s preliminary attendance
figures, which showed a slight increase from last year’s
convention as the broadcast business and larger professional
video equipment market appear to have stabilized.
NAB claimed 88,044 attendees, a 6.5% increase from
the 2009 NAB Show final attendance of 82,650, based
on pre-show and on-site registration. ¶ Moreover, there
was plenty of new technology on the show floor. On the
station front, there was new gear to enable mobile DTV
broadcasting, in the form of station infrastructure and
consumer receivers. And the buzz over stereoscopic 3D
at the Consumer Electronics Show in January certainly
carried over to NAB, as countless vendors showed modifications to their production and transmission systems,
and in some cases brand-new products, to support 3D
pay-TV channels launching later this year. ¶ “There’s a
good vibe here,” said Rich Wolf, senior VP of telecommunications
and distribution for ABC Broadcast Operations
& Engineering. “I think a lot of the vendors have
stopped playing defense.”

JVC Snags
Hearst Deal

JVC announced that station
group Hearst Television is buying
its handheld GY-HM100
ProHD camcorders for its take
on the backpack-
concept, which
Hearst calls the
“Next Generation

Hearst piloted
the Next Generation
in three stations
last year, and
has launched
it this year at
WPBF West Palm Beach and
KETV Omaha. Six more stations
are now using the GYHM100
camcorders, which
record natively in the “.mov”
format on SDHC media cards
and list for $3,495. They are
KMBC Kansas City, Mo.;
WLWT Cincinnati; WISN
Milwaukee; WGAL Lancaster,
Pa.; KOCO Oklahoma City;
and KCCI Des Moines.

The JVC cameras are being
used in conjunction with Dell
laptops loaded with Adobe Premiere
Pro CS5 nonlinear editing
software, which Hearst is
implementing across the group
for various applications. News
packages are recorded and
edited in highdefinition,
to standard-def
and sent via FTP
transport back
to the station
for inclusion in
local newscasts.

Hearst outlets
WMUR Manchester,
and WESH Orlando
are slated
to deploy the new cameras this
month. Hearst plans to purchase
additional GY-HM100s for at
least six more stations this year.


Snell introduced a new version
of its Kahuna
switcher, which
has found traction
with local
networks and
sports trucks for
its multi-format

The new Kahuna
360 can
support up to
16 simultaneous
broadcast productions in a
single mainframe; Snell says
this is an industry first. It uses
the company’s proprietary
Format Fusion3 technology
to support any combination
of SD and HD inputs and outputs,
including 3 gigabit-persecond,
1080-line progressive
HD. This eliminates the
need for external conversion
equipment, which Snell says
reduces initial costs and saves
valuable setup time in mobile
production applications.

The new switcher also integrates
Snell’s patent-pending
EPP (Enhanced Progressive
Processing), which the company
says provides superior
quality in video
particularly for
1080p signals.
Existing Kahuna
can upgrade to
the 360 platform
by switching
out the backend
equipment for
the switcher,
at an estimated
cost of 35%-40% of the initial
purchase price.

U.K.-based Snell, formed
last year by the merger of video
processing specialist Snell &
Wilcox and routing and automation
supplier Pro-Bel, also
emphasized its support for stereoscopic
3D production across
a range of products including
switching, standards conversion,
monitoring and playout.

In speaking with customers
about 3D, said Snell Chief
Marketing Offi cer Neil Maycock,
“We hear everything
from ‘It’s all hype’ to ‘It’s
happening, it’s inevitably our
business.’ But it’s clear that it’s
not a question of ‘if’ anymore, it’s a question of how much,
how soon.”


Server and storage vendor
Omneon, best known for supplying
master-control playout
servers for local stations and
cable networks, highlighted its
new capabilities in production

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based
company introduced new modules
and software for its Spectrum
servers and MediaGrid
storage that deliver more bandwidth
and support more users
for collaborative editing applications.
It also demonstrated a new
content management system,
ProXplore, designed to organize
metadata about media files and
track them throughout the production
workflow, from ingest
through editing to playout.

Production represented less
than 10% of Omneon’s customer
base in 2006, according
to Senior VP of Marketing and
Business Development Geoff
Stedman, but counts for 30%
of sales today, including news
production, sports highlights
and content-repurposing applications.
Major U.S. customers
include NY1 News, which
is using Omneon MediaGrid
storage in a complete news
workfl ow with a Dalet newsroom
computer system, Chyron
graphics and Apple Final Cut
Pro editors; and NBC Universal,
which used Omneon servers
in combination with EVS
replay and editing systems
during its coverage of the 2010
Vancouver Olympics.

A key driver for Omneon’s
production growth has been its
integration with third-party editors,
servers and cameras. At
NAB, it introduced new support
for Sony’s RDD9 MXF wrapper
format, which is used in
the XDCAM HD optical-disc
cameras favored by large customers
such as CNN. Omneon
servers used to be able to read
XDCAM files, but couldn’t
encode a file and send it to an
XDCAM disc. Now they can
go both ways.

GV Unveils
New Ignite

Grass Valley is seeking to extend
the reach of its Ignite
production automation system,
which has found favor with
station groups like ABC and
Media General for its ability to
produce newscasts with fewer
people. The company introduced
a new, more flexible version
called Ignite Konnect.

To date, Ignite systems have
generally been purchased by
stations that need to buy a new
HD production switcher to upgrade
to HD news. As such,
the systems have been sold as
a complete package including
switcher, software and related
peripherals, like robotic camera
heads, at a total cost running
several hundred thousand dollars.
In contrast, Ignite Konnect
is designed as an add-on software
product that provides automation
control of existing Grass
Valley Kalypso and Kayenne
switchers in the field, including
standard-defi nition models.

Ignite Konnect allows customers
to automate as much
or as little of their workfl ow as
they need, and requires little or
no change to existing switcher
effects. Konnect will be available
in June; the base system
will range in cost from $34,995
to $139,995.

The Konnect product
should appeal to stations that
are looking to automate their
newscasts but plan to stay in
the SD realm for now, according
to Grass Valley Senior VP
Jeff Rosica. “They’re not going
to buy a whole new kit to
do SD,” he said.

Rosica also announced more
business from Media General
for the Ignite system, with
three more stations upgrading
to HD news with Ignite.


Dolby Laboratories, best
known for its range of professional
audio products and
broadly licensed digital audio
technology, introduced a 42-
inch, professional LCD video
reference monitor designed to
deliver the same color accuracy
as the obsolete CRT (cathode
ray tube) monitors long favored
by post-production veterans.

While Dolby has a large
footprint in imaging in the
digital cinema space and has
shipped more than 3,200 3D
display systems worldwide,
the PRM-4200 monitor represents
its first professional
imaging product and is the
culmination of a long development

Roland Vlaicu, director of
technical marketing for Dolby’s
broadcast segment, said
that the “biggest headache”
for Tier 1 post-production clients
is that they no longer can
get high-end CRT monitors,
which have been phased out
in favor of LCD and plasma
monitors over the past decade
as part of an overall shift from
CRT to flat-panel technology
in both the consumer and Bto-
B markets. They revere
the color accuracy of the old
CRTs, Vlaicu said, in particular
their ability to depict “true
black levels.”

Dolby is aiming to solve
that problem with the PRM-
4200, which should ship later
this year and sell for between
$40,000 and $50,000. Dolby
says the monitor accurately reveals
true and deep black levels
with higher contrast across
the entire color spectrum, and
provides an unprecedented
luminance range and level. It
uses a backlight comprised of
red, green and blue LEDs that
are modulated individually on
a frame-by-frame basis. The
LCD panel is also modulated
in real time as part of the dualmodulation

In addition to high-end
post-production houses, the
PRM-4200 should also have
applications for television networks
in their quality-control
and transmission-monitoring