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Snell & Wilcox Gets Over 20 Orders for Breakthrough Switcher

Unique Production Switcher Enables Industry To Take Control of HDTV Transition (April 18, 2005)

Even before its NAB debut, the revolutionary Kahuna SD/HD production switcher from Snell & Wilcox has achieved more than 20 orders from customers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Kahuna's unique FormatFusion technology allows SD sources to be seamlessly integrated into HD productions and vice versa, without the need for upconversion. Not only does this capability make Kahuna the most versatile production switcher available on the market, it eliminates the expense of additional upconverters, graphics, and other peripheral equipment, saving users space, weight, power, and money.

"The industry reaction to the Kahuna switcher has been extraordinary, not only when we count orders received during the product's launch phase, but perhaps more importantly in terms of the tremendous interest we have seen from broadcasters worldwide," said Joe Zaller, vice president of marketing and product management at Snell & Wilcox. "The market's response has made it clear that Kahuna is the right product at the right time. It enables broadcasters to take control of their transition to HDTV in a seamless and cost-effective way."  

The range of clients placing orders for Kahuna testifies to the system's versatility. They include national TV networks such as Denmark Radio, FR3, and Korea's MBC; mobile truck operators such as Neon Broadcast in London and Betanews in Italy; American call-letter television stations; A/V specialists such as U.S.-based LMG; and even professional sports teams such as Real Madrid soccer club and the Atlanta Braves baseball team.

"The extraordinary speed at which Kahuna is being accepted by the market, and the diversity of the Kahuna customer base, absolutely validate our conviction that what the industry needs and wants now are solutions that will enable a measured, orderly, and cost-effective transition to HDTV," said Zaller. "This is exactly what Kahuna delivers, by allowing users to go to HD now without having to purchase multiple HD upconverters, new HD graphics capabilities, and new HD cameras. By extending the useful life of existing SD hardware, and in providing a seamless upgrade path to HD, our customers are finding out that Kahuna virtually pays for itself."

For broadcasters transitioning to HD operations, Kahuna eliminates the rock-and-hard-place dilemma between investing in a complete HD facility and buying piecemeal channels of external upconversion to integrate sources from legacy SD equipment into HD productions. Kahuna's flexibility enables users to work initially in SD-only or HD-only mode, and then upgrade to multiformat SD/HD operation whenever they choose.

When Kahuna is used in multiformat SD/HD mode, its FormatFusion technology enables SD sources to be seamlessly integrated into HD products without the need for upconversion. This functionality enables Kahuna operators to allocate mix/effects banks (M/Es) to either SD or HD sources, or to mix the two together on a single M/E. Users can make maximum use of all available M/Es by networking multiple control surfaces to different mainframes, allocating one mainframe to separate control panels, or to operating in SD or HD as required.

"We are finding that many broadcasters see Kahuna as the ultimate hedge against future uncertainty, since no one in the industry wants to buy equipment that is not at least HD-capable," Zaller added. "Production switchers last a long time and are a long-term investment, so even if the customer is not going HD for a few years, Kahuna makes perfect sense because it enables them to take control of their transition at their own pace."

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 Burbank, 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:Kahuna, Snell & Wilcox, SD/HD , HDTV, HD, FormatFusion, SD


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