This week Grass Valley ships Turbo, a new digital disk recorder that can handle both high-definition and standard-definition material and costs less than $10,000. The product has already started turning heads in private demos for those in the professional audio/video market, and Grass Valley hopes it will do the same in the broadcast space.
Barry Enders, president of Enders and Associates, a California-based equipment dealer for the pro AV, broadcast and post-production market, was one of the few to get an early peek at Turbo. He says broadcasters in small markets who still rely on analog or digital tape decks for editing stories can use it as a replacement.
“They won't need another $10,000 in interface gear because it has all the interfaces built in standard,” he says. “There are no nickel-and-dime add-ons.”
Another possible application for broadcasters includes building digital signage networks, providing content for public plasma-screen displays. “The ability to record up to 10 hours of material and then put it into a loop playlist will absolutely fit that market,” Enders says.
Gary Kayye, partner and chief visionary for Kayye Consulting, a marketing and consulting firm for the AV market, expects Grass Valley's new efforts in the pro AV sector to generate excitement among his customers. “For big staged events, you'll typically find multiple sources like VTRs and PCs. But with this, the user can pre-record everything and play it out in sequences.”
Darren Alexander, senior project manager for Creative Technologies Los Angeles, the company in charge of the display screens at the Kodak Theatre during the Academy Awards, says the ability to record on two channels while playing out on another is one of several useful features. “With the DVD drive, Firewire and the USB port,” he says, “there are a lot of ways to get clips into the unit.”
Enders says the Turbo represents “another nail in the coffin” of videotape recorders. “With a system like this, you can record something and e-mail it around,” Enders says. “Tape is, by nature, becoming passé.”