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Snell & Wilcox To Feature Transition to HDTV at NAB2005

Solutions and strategies that allow broadcasters to transition to a DTV future (February 10, 2005)

With the viewing audience for high definition TV poised to double in 2005, broadcasters are under new pressures to complete their transition to digital and accelerate their migration to local high definition (HD) program production. Prices for HDTV sets are coming down, sales are on the way up, and more and more HD content is available from cable and satellite providers. For consumers, the limitations of standard definition (SD) are increasingly evident, and viewers are showing a distinct preference for the improved picture quality that HDTV provides. Local broadcasters, already under the gun for a lingering digital transition, are finding their SD programming slotted among more attractive HD offerings from pay operators. Suddenly, with the cost of professional HDTV production tools also dropping in cost, the television universe has become more competitive - and image quality can no longer be ignored.

New products from Snell & Wilcox at NAB2005 are focused on helping broadcasters succeed in this new competitive environment without breaking the bank. At booth SU6349, Snell & Wilcox will show a wide array of innovative solutions and strategies that allow broadcasters to take control of their transition to a DTV future in an intelligent, measured, and cost-effective way.

Highlighting the Snell & Wilcox booth at NAB will be a new generation of products that bridge SD and HD technologies, allowing traditional television facilities to migrate at their own pace to full digital HDTV capability. These include the Kahuna SD/HD production switcher with new DVE options and a new range of SD/HD products for the IQ Modular infrastructure range. At the same time, Snell & Wilcox's design philosophy ensures that all new infrastructure products will be IT-aware and fully compatible with file-based broadcast technology, thus future-proofing broadcasters against the next inevitable transition to fully tapeless, IT-based facilities.

New Products at NAB2005

New Kahuna Multiformat SD/HD Production Switcher Revolutionizes Production Switching and Enables Seamless Workflow Transition to HDTV
Kahuna is a masterpiece of innovative design that sets a bold new standard in switcher functionality. It is the world's first production switcher to offer simultaneous HD and SD operations in the same mainframe with the same control panel. It is also the first switcher to enable the seamless integration of SD sources into HD productions without outboard upconversion.

Kahuna's extraordinary flexibility enables users to work initially in SD-only or HD-only mode, and then to upgrade to multiformat SD/HD operation whenever they choose. In multiformat SD/HD mode, Kahuna users can mix existing SD 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.

The Kahuna switcher being demonstrated at Snell & Wilcox booth SU6349 at NAB2005 offers the option of up to four two-channel DVEs that can apply effects to the keyers and background transitions, including warps, tiling, ripples, roll and peels, and lighting effects. Moreover, the effect options can be fully integrated and require no additional connections or extra rack space.

New IQ Modular Components Boost Functionality
The 2005 line-up of 25 new IQ Modular infrastructure components features the broadcast industry's most advanced converters, synchronizers, distribution amplifiers, routers, and audio modules -- all capable of operating in either SD or HD resolutions and all designed to let broadcasters take control of their transition to digital and HDTV broadcasting. While IQ Modular components have always offered remarkable packing density of electronic circuitry, in 2005 there is a new emphasis on giving each module added functionality. That means each module gains the capability of carrying out multiple tasks -- all with less bulk, lighter weight, less heat, and lower power consumption.

For example, the new Snell & Wilcox IQDEC00 module packs a 12-bit 3D Golden Gate premium decoder, synchronizer, and audio embedder with noise reduction all on a single compact card. This versatile module features a complete analog ingest solution for both video and audio.

On the audio side, the new IQBRK00 module will take up to two embedded audio streams, break them out to AES, and then re-ingest the resulting signals. This multi-use module offers a complete AV solution for incoming feeds with firewall, proc. amp, audio shuffling, and delay.

Adding flexibility to individual modules means doing more with fewer components - an important part of Snell & Wilcox's aggressive strategy to help broadcasters transition to HDTV at a manageable pace and affordable price. All the new module components integrate nicely with existing legacy equipment, allowing the engineering staff to avoid the costly exercise of radically re-equipping a plant all at once.

Doing more with less falls nicely into the design criteria of building mobile broadcast trucks -making the combination of a Kahuna switcher and IQ Modules a compelling infrastructure choice for a new generation of SD/HD-capable OB vehicles.

New Solutions for IT-Based, Open-Standards Broadcast Environment
At NAB2005, Snell & Wilcox will also showcase advancements in information technology (IT). A highlight will be the latest version of Comet, a software-based, open-standards ingest system for broadcast servers and asset management systems.

Comet, powered by the Snell & Wilcox MediaX real-time MPEG-2 PCI encoder, takes advantage of the recent standardization of the MXF (Material eXchange Format), the SMPTE DMS-1 descriptive metadata standard, the RP-210 metadata dictionary, and the latest AAF Edit Protocol. It empowers broadcasters to create multivendor systems with complete interoperability, and to begin a move away from costly proprietary server storage and asset management systems.

At NAB2005, Snell & Wilcox seeks to help its broadcast customers remain competitive by transitioning to future technologies in an intelligent and controlled way.

"Rapid change in technology is inevitable. Yet, when change is properly managed and intelligently controlled by broadcasters, it can offer extraordinary new business opportunities to those who embrace it," said Joe Zaller, vice president of marketing and product management at Snell & Wilcox. "We think the best way to successfully ride the wave of change is through a well-planned and flexible infrastructure. Our 2005 product lineup reflects that philosophy."

About Snell & Wilcox
Snell & Wilcox, the leader in its field, delivers technologies and products that give television and satellite broadcasters, post-production facilities, film makers, and communications professionals the freedom 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 without sacrificing picture quality. 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, United Kingdom. Additional offices are located in New York, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, and Russia.

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Related Keywords:Snell & Wilcox, HDTV, DTV, HD, broadcasters, Kahuna, DVE, IQ Modular, tapeless, Kahuna Multiformat SD/HD Production Switcher, Switcher, upconversion, multiformat, keyers, transitions, converters, synchronizers, distribution amplifiers, routers, IQDEC00, 3D Golden Gate, decoder, ingest, IQBRK00, AES, OB vehicles, Comet, broadcast servers, asset management, MediaX, MXF, Joe Zaller,


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