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Neon's New HD Mobile Unit Features UK's First Kahuna

Snell & Wilcox multi-format switcher installed in Neon Broadcast?s newest mobile truck (May 10, 2005)

The first Snell & Wilcox SD/HD Kahuna production switcher to be installed in the U.K. is wending its way along some of the narrower streets of London at the heart of the newest mobile truck in Neon Broadcast Services' fleet. Chosen both for its unique SD/HD support and compact, highly integrated design, Kahuna gives Neon's compact new truck the capabilities of larger vehicles in a unit specifically designed to serve smaller, urban venues in locations where supersize OB units won't fit.

"We have built our business on the idea that big is not always better," said Colin Vinton, managing director at the Middlesex, England-based company. "Instead of competing with companies that serve the largest venues, we have tailored our fleet to meet the requirements of professional production in areas with very tight space constraints. The Kahuna is a good fit because it can take any flavor of signal, identify it, and resize and convert it, all within one box. It offers real savings in terms of space and efficiency."

Kahuna is the first production switcher ever to offer simultaneous standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) operations in the same mainframe with the same control panel. Enabled by Snell & Wilcox's Format Fusion technology, Kahuna allows SD sources to be integrated seamlessly into HD products and vice versa, without the need for upconversion. Not only does this capability make Kahuna the most versatile production switcher available on the market, but it also eliminates the need for additional upconverters and other peripheral equipment, saving space, weight, power, and money.

Neon Broadcast's new truck measures just 11 meters in length. Within this space, Neon has installed the Kahuna multi-format switcher along with 12 cameras, four VTRs (additional VTRs are housed in its operations tender), and high-resolution TFT monitors. The truck's comprehensive audio capability, ideal for professional concert recordings made at London clubs, includes two audio desks that allow sound engineers to mix down and multi-track record up to 48 tracks.

Kahuna's compact 11-RU mainframe is the smallest ever for a switcher with its capabilities, yet it contains up to four M/Es and eight channels of 3D DVE effects (optional) together with redundant power supplies. Its low weight, power consumption, and heat generation make Kahuna equally at home in weight-sensitive OB vehicles and in fixed installations.

Neon's coverage of live events also includes news, which it is currently presenting in a mixture of 4:3 and 16:9 signals in both PAL and SDI -- and soon in HD, too. Using Kahuna in multi-format SD/HD mode, Neon Broadcast will be able to mix both SD and HD camera feeds, graphics, handheld shots, and archive footage directly into an HD production with no need to purchase expensive HD upgrades or extra HD upconversion equipment.

Beyond offering users the ability to work with both SD and HD video simultaneously with minimal compromise in picture quality, as enabled by Snell & Wilcox's Format Fusion technology, Kahuna offers tremendous value to end-users by enabling an easily controlled and smooth migration from SD to HD production. Kahuna puts broadcasters in control of their transition to HD operation, enabling them to make the transition in a measured, intelligent, and cost-effective way.

"As HD acquisition continues to increase, mobile trucks with multi-format support are increasingly important in bringing the highest-quality images to facilities or events without HD equipment in place," continued Vinton. "Our clients will see the benefit of working with the Kahuna immediately, and its flexibility is key to our ability to deliver reliable service and win repeat business."

About Neon Broadcast Services
Neon Broadcast Services provides location television facilities to television production companies and broadcasters, both terrestrial and satellite, throughout the U.K and overseas. The company offers top-level freelance television professionals who, like Neon, have worked on a broad spectrum of programming. Some past and current projects Neon has been involved in have ranged from documentaries, news and current affairs, light entertainment shows through to live music concerts and children's programs.

More information about Neon is available at

About Snell & Wilcox
Snell & Wilcox, the leader in its field, delivers technologies and products that enable television and satellite broadcasters, post-production facilities, filmmakers, and communications professionals to move content seamlessly between analog, digital, high definition, and file-based systems and to bridge the world's multiplicity of line/field and color standards. The company provides switchers and keyers, standards conversion systems, networked infrastructure components, and products for noise reduction, image enhancement, and restoration. In business since 1973, Snell & Wilcox maintains its U.S. headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., and European headquarters in Hampshire, U.K. Additional offices are located in New York, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, and Russia.

Visit for more information.


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Related Keywords:Snell & Wilcox, Neon Broadcast, Kahuna, production switcher, 3D DVE, OB vehicles, switchers,


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