Under New Ownership, Grass Valley Hits NAB Show Floor With Fresh Outlook

Grass Valley arrived at NAB under new ownership and ready for a fresh start. After a tumultuous past few years, Technicolor sold its Grass Valley holdings to Francisco Partners. Since the deal was finalized in January, the big question has been “What are Francisco Partners’ plans with Grass Valley?”

At the company’s press conference on Saturday, new President/CEO Alain Adreoli, who was an operating partner at Francisco Partners and previously president of Sun Microsystems Europe, confronted that question head on.

“I still hear people asking, ‘Is Francisco Partners here to resell the company in pieces?’” he said. “Well, I’m here to tell you Francisco Partners is here as a long-term investor in this company. Francisco Partners is here to keep investing to make this a business that will continue to flourish in the future.”

As part of this long-term investment, says Adreoli, Grass Valley will put at least 15% of its revenue exclusively towards R&D and product development this year and in years to come.

The early fruits of this product development can be seen in a range of new-product announcements, including a transmission system that unites fiber and triax (CLICK HERE for SVG’s full story), an end-to-end production platform dubbed Stratus, enhancements to the MediaFUSE Web/mobile distribution platform, and fiber I/O boards and multiviewer capabilities for the family of Trinix NXT video routers.

Grass Valley introduced the end-to-end software platform designed to ingest, manage, edit, and play out assets stored on K2 Summit or K2 Solo servers or on a K2 storage area network (SAN). According to the company, Stratus allows producers and managers to make specific tasks fast and easy to perform by virtually any authorized staff member. Grass Valley will make most of its existing file-based production software tools available immediately for the Windows OS-based platform and plans to add a Macintosh client in the future.

MediaFuse and Irdeto Partnership
Grass Valley unveiled the latest version of its MediaFUSE hardware and software platform that distributes content to the Web and mobile devices. Version 2.0 allows broadcasters and content providers to automatically convert linear content and stream it live using Flash, HLS-5 for HTML5, and Windows Media formats. Each format can feed multiple streams that can contain unique ads and content, replaced automatically on-the-fly. All major consumption devices, including the Apple iPad, iPhone, and Google Android, can have their own customized stream.

Grass Valley also announced a partnership with software-security and media-technology provider Irdeto, integrating MediaFuse with Irdeto’s broadband solution.

Grass Valley has added two fiber I/O boards to its Trinix NXT family of SD/HD/3G digital video routers. These I/O boards allow new and existing Trinix users to add optical I/O capability in the same frame with electrical (coax) I/O functionality for added flexibility. The boards are fully compatible with every Trinix sold since 2001.

Another addition to Trinix, fully integrated multiviewer option supports infrastructures up to 3 Gbps while providing up to eight SDI multiviewer monitor outputs per card, including the ability to monitor audio for each source.

Maestro, Concerto, Jupiter, and Encore
Grass Valley highlighted a number of enhancements to its Maestro master-control and channel-branding system and its Concerto Series of SD/ HD/3G video-routing switchers. Also showcased were enhancements to the Jupiter and Encore router-control systems.

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