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Avid CEO David Krall, Part 1Exclusive interview with DMN's Charlie White
(4/28/2005) At last weeks NAB 2005 convention in Las Vegas, Avid Technology, Inc. CEO David Krall spoke with Digital Media Nets Charlie White in this wide ranging, exclusive interview. In part 1, Krall talks about Avids new products introduced at the show, and looks ahead at what he thinks will be the next frontier for high definition television broadcasting. In part 2 coming up at the end of this week, Krall talks about Avids transition plans as the proposed purchase of Pinnacle Systems is consummated this summer.
DMN: Tell us about what Avid has at NAB and what the big news is this year.
Krall: Hi Charlie, thank you. The big news for us falls into two major categories for post and broadcast. In the post side of our business is the long-awaited Symphony Nitris our customers have been anticipating this since we first launched DNA in 2003. I think they would have actually loved to have had it at the original launch, but as you know, we rolled out a family of products, and since the initial rollout we been adding members to that family. So were very excited that Symphony Nitris is going to be shipping in Q3, and we are going to be incorporating all the great features that people know and love about Symphony into Symphony Nitris. So there will be total conform from Xpress Pro HD to Media Composer up to Symphony finishing.
DMN: The Nitris hardware makes a big difference, doesnt it?
Krall: Right, with the real-time power of the Nitris hardware, you can do two-stream, ten-bit HD in real time, and youre able to do all the effects that people have gotten used to doing in standard definition but now in high-definition resolutions in real time. And its funny, theres a distinction that is probably worth making regarding the difference between mastering and output, and creating an on-screen visualization. A lot of people may look at a software-based solution thats running on the CPU and theyll see an on-screen visualization of the image processing that theyre doing. Theyll think, oh, this is multistream real-time.
DMN: It looks good at the revival meeting, doesnt it?
Krall: It looks great, but if you were to then plug a cable into that, and record the output, put that file to tape, somebody would have to say, well, this is actually a decimated resolution, its not full resolution, subsampled to the screen. Its not an output that you can actually capture. So if you want the output, then you have a rendering stage. Thats not the case with Nitris when working with HD. Basically, what you see is what you get, and you could connect an output to it and be recording that onto your disk subsystem or putting it onto your Unity network.
DMN: Its not cheap, but you get what you pay for?the price is $89,995.
Krall: And $89,995 is the all-inclusive system with the computer and storage.
DMN: Speaking of Unity, thats also been upgraded, hasnt it?
Krall: One of our other announcements is moving Unity from two-gig fiber channel to four-gig fiber channel, where you obviously have a significant increase of the bandwidth of the Unity network, and that will support higher bandwidth clients.
DMN: So they will be able to not only use Avid DNxHD but perhaps higher bandwidth?
Krall: It even goes beyond that with higher-bandwidth clients. So, ultimately what people will need to be able to do on a limited basis will be uncompressed HD in real time, and you cant do that on two-gig fiber channel so you need to go to four-gig for that.
DMN: Speaking of hardware, are you going to stick with HP? Have you ever considered going with Opteron, with these new dual core chips that will be released where you might be able to have four or eight processors?
Krall: Theyll be a nice thing to have. The choice of processor is something that the computer manufacturer makes and not us. Obviously, Dell is one of the products we run on. But we run on other platforms as well.
DMN: So Opteron might be in the mix?
Krall: Sure. There would be no reason why we wouldnt be able to run our software on that.
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