GVG bullish heading into NAB

Company foresees growth in newsroom editing as well as servers

The current glitch in the economy doesn't faze Grass Valley Group President and CEO Tim Thorsteinson. Right now, he is seeing the beginning of a growth spurt for the Nevada City, Calif., manufacturer.

"Most of our purchases today are being driven by broadcasters wanting to effect cost savings and efficiencies in their operations," Thorsteinson says. "That's the primary driver of our business today, and we see that increasing bandwidth being put online every day around the world is creating the demand for high-quality video content."

The two big growth opportunities he sees for GVG are in newsroom editing and in the server market, especially as broadcasters move from tape-based to disk-based environments. "We probably sell twice as many servers as anyone else so we expect that to be a real growth opportunity for us."

The past few months have been interesting ones for the economy, and business at GVG was no exception. According to Thorsteinson, the company, which was taken private about 18 months ago, had a relatively smooth first four quarters of existence. "But, in the fourth calendar quarter of last year, the market took a reset," he explained. Much of that was related to a dotcom shakeout that is rippling through nearly every economic sector.

"But, if you step back from this and go to 30,000 feet, I don't think it changes the long-term fact that people are going to want to take content and stream it to other portals, with TV being one portal," he said. "It's just that the segment got overheated and we're in an adjustment."

And Thorsteinson is encouraged by recent sales. "The market has flattened out in the last couple of quarters, but this month is starting out strong, so we're happy with that but cautious."

A key driver to GVG's successful relaunch has been its new products, with offerings like the Kalypso production switcher finding believers in 2000.

The company sees new products for the upcoming National Association of Broadcasters convention providing similar momentum this year. In the area of news production, the big news from GVG is the introduction of its real-time Media Area Network (MAN), a system the company describes as a "no-compromise" option for shared storage.

The real-time storage area network is compatible with Profile XP Media Platform systems and uses Ethernet to allow Profile video servers to communicate with other components on the network. Any client on the system can access the RAID storage via multiple full-speed gigabit-per-second connections. Pricing starts at $46,000.

GVG also will offer a new server for news and sports productions.

The PVS1100 Profile XP Media Platform provides 600 Mb/s of bandwidth, features up to 32 audio channels and eight video channels, and is upgradable to HD. It also has built-in SDTI support to allow ingestion of compressed material at four times real-time speed. Pricing starts at $40,000 for the two-channel version.

Also introduced was the Profile Network Archive, a fiber-channel-network-based system designed to allow users to access archives faster than real time. Based on Avalon's management software, the system allows archiving of standard-definition, HD, DVCPRO and MPEG-based material in SMPTE-based GXF standard file format. One feature that GVG is touting is the ability to offer partial-file restore: The system can recover a specific segment of a given video file, instead of requiring transfer of the entire file.

Also looking to expand the Profile's capabilities is the company's NetCentral II. NetCentral I offered facility-wide monitoring, and NetCentral II builds on that with worldwide monitoring from a standard Internet browser. Pricing starts at $2,000.

In news editing, GVG will offer a new Vibrint newsroom editing system that can handle MPEG/DV video at up to 50 Mb/s (except progressive formats), real-time effects for production bumps and teases, and expanded audio capabilities including eight mix-down channels, four audio out channels, scrubbing and equalization.