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ProAV Product Alters the Market

The Final Sayye by Gary Kayye By Gary Kayye, CTS

Every once in a while a product will come along that I feel will change the market dynamics in a major way and will find its way into the Final Sayye column. Not often, but sometimes.

Well, todays one of those days.  Ive been playing with a new product from Grass Valley this week and I can tell you this is a MAJOR DEAL.  You MUST go see this at InfoComm. ProAV has officially entered the server market with a product that will certainly set the bar and one that consultants like Waveguide and Shen are already embracing.

Dubbed Turbo, its the biggest step toward a system integrators dream of a content server. Turbo is TiVo for the ProAV market.

Click graphic for enlargement.

With the capability to store more than 40 hours of video, HD-video, SD video, computer video, file formats such as WMV (Windows media video), WMV-HD, Quicktime, HDV and MPEG2 video, the Turbo is basically a super-drive for the meeting room market.

Heres how it works. A TiVo on steroids, Turbo records all its varying video formats via component video (y, r-y, b-y or Py, Pr, Pb), composite video, s-video, SD and IEEE 1394 Firewire ports, the video is then encoded to one standard HDV file format for playback at ANY resolution from 525-line video to 1080i HD resolutions. But, in addition to storing and playing back all sorts of video formats, the beauty of the Turbo is that its actually compatible with all sorts of computer file formats as well also converting them to standard HDV files for playback at any video rate as well including even PowerPoint files! 

So, basically, what you get for under $10,000 is a network-ready, hard disk recorder that stores varying formats of content and plays them back at any resolution and video format you want or need depending on the display you are placing in the room with Turbo. And, yes, Ive seen Turbo in person and up-close and even been able to play with it. If your original video content is NTSC or PAL video, it up-converts/scales it to any resolution you want (even 720p, 1080i, XGA, SXGA, you name the acronym). And vice-versa. Import native 1080i HD video and it can even play it back in s-video or composite video if you want.

 Turbo will debut at InfoComm and Grass Valley tells me that it will be ready to ship at introduction. Turbo includes one universal analog input (video, s-video, Y, Pr, Pb, SDI and XLR & line audio) and two universal analog and digital outputs (DVI-I, RGBHV, composite, s-video, S/PDIF & XLR) in addition to three Firewire inputs, two USB-2.0 ports and is all housed in a 3U rack enclosure. It records at rates anywhere from 4Mb/s to 25 Mb/s (you choose the rate based on application requirement), uses MPEG2 compression and because of this, Turbo is compatible with all major graphics file formats including AVI, Quicktime, Windows media, WMV-HD, BMP, JPEG and HDV.

Importing of file formats can be via the 100/1000Base-T Ethernet port (connected to any network or the Internet, the USB port or the Firewire ports. All files are internally converted and scaled for any resolution playback format, aspect ratio or quality and connectivity.

This box is where, for two years, I have been saying the market is moving content servers. Turbo will be embraced quickly by system designers and ProAV dealers who understand and see the value of storing all content in one place and playing it back whenever you need it and whatever resolution you need it played. Control includes AMX and Crestron (both have drivers for it already), or front panel, or via connecting ANY resolution PC monitor, keyboard and mouse to Turbo and using it in a sort of stand-alone workstation mode.

I can see virtually every staging application switching to this immediately. Why bother with VTRs, scalers, switchers and computers when you can record all your content inside this box and then build a ?show that you just play back either automatically or via a front-panel playback with pause, FF buttons (just like a DVD player).

But, I see big ProAV dealers out there dropping it into classrooms, meeting rooms and auditoriums almost immediately as a way to centralize content and simplify systems design.


Gary Kayye, CTS is Chief Visionary at Kayye Consulting, Inc., a Chapel Hill, NC-based marketing consulting firm that serves the ProAV and Home Theater markets. In addition to strategic marketing consulting, Kayye Consulting, Inc. is also a training development company. Gary can be reached via e-mail at gkayye@kayye.com or through his Web site at www.kayye.com.

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Gary Kayye, CTS is Chief Visionary at Kayye Consulting, Inc., a Chapel Hill, NC-based marketing consulting firm that serves the ProAV and Home Theater markets. In addition to strategic marketing consulting, Kayye Consulting, Inc. is also a training development company. Gary can be reached via e-mail at gkayye@kayye.com or through his Web site at www.kayye.com.
Related Keywords:Thomson, Grass Valley, ProAV, Gary Kayye, Turbo, server

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