Switch Hitters

Companies parade new switcher options at NAB

There will be a number of new production switchers (and upgrades) on display at the NAB show. Attendees can expect to find more dual HD/SD-capable switchers, greater integration with digital video effects (DVEs) and more flexibility.

Snell & Wilcox

Kahuna, Snell & Wilcox’s next-generation SD/HD production switcher, has a big name to live up to. It’s designed to be the dream switcher for facilities that output SD and HD. It can handle both formats using the same control panel. It can also integrate SD sources into HD productions without outboard up-conversion and has an internal 3D DVE option that can provide up to four two-channel DVEs’ worth of effects to keyers. (And it doesn’t need additional rack space.)


The flip side of the Kahuna is Eyeheight’s irisHDi, a compact HD production switcher with eight HD-SDI inputs and two outputs. It can handle video mixing, wipes and cuts and is based on the company’s DT hardware platform, which is only 1RU high and one-half rack wide. The company is pushing the irisHDi’s power and versatility.

Grass Valley

The KayakDD switcher line (about $98,000) is also available in an HD version with two Mix/Effect buses (M/E). The 4RU-high unit supports 1080i and 720p HD with 48 inputs and four keyers per M/E. With up to 24 outputs, it can be used on HD and SD. A six-channel RAM recorder hold hundreds of uncompressed clips or stills.


In the large-production-switcher department is Ikegami’s HSS-3000 next-generation, full-size HD/SD unit. It can input HD, SD or SDI signals and support up to 96 inputs and 64 outputs, as well as four M/Es that are HD- or SD-assignable. (Two smaller versions with one and two M/Es will also be shown.)

The HSS-3000 also has a two-channel DVE built into each M/E for basic programmable effects.


The Imagestore HDTV master-control and channel-branding processor has two new features: a dual DVE and a multi-group audio mixer. The audio mixer has 16 channels and uses embedded or AES audio for multichannel playout (including 5.1-surround-sound mixes). The processor has eight-channel audio storage for 5.1 clips or stereo voiceovers in four languages.

Ross Video

The new SmartConversion-Cross Converter Tie Line Management allows cross-converters with different resolutions and formats to be automatically switched in and out as needed. Also new for the company’s MD switcher are modules that handle standard-definition interface and high-definition interface HD-SDI.


Users of Sony MVS-8000A and MFS-2000 production switchers will be able to add editing functionality directly to the switcher. A new option package called Plug-in Editor can be loaded, turning the control room into an editing suite. The MFS-2000 switcher is designed for use when space in a facility or truck is an issue.