NAB 2018

Live From NAB 2018: With SAM Acquisition Complete, Grass Valley Looks to the Future

Legacy products of both companies will be supported; new products announced

Grass Valley’s NAB 2018 press conference on Sunday served as a coming-out party for the company’s acquisition of SAM (Snell Advanced Media) this year. With SAM’s product lines now under its umbrella, Grass Valley revealed what this newly integrated product portfolio will look like, including several new product announcements. Chiefly, Grass Valley (Booth SL106) has no plan to discontinue any products from either company immediately.

“There won’t be discontinuation of any products, and we will let products go through their natural life cycle,” said VP of Global Marketing Neil Maycock. “The message is, we are not going to cut anybody off. If you’re invested in a product, we will continue supplying and supporting it.”

Although no products will be discontinued, several new ones were announced at the press conference, including the iTX Flex cloud playout platform, IP-based IZUCP25/50 software-defined processing module, and, new to the NAB Show, the massive GV K-Frame production switcher.

“I think Grass Valley has a great story to tell at NAB, a story of being No. 1 in the markets we serve and advancing our product portfolio through the acquisition and integration of SAM,” said new Grass Valley President Tim Shoulders. “We’ve developed a product strategy that brings the loyal customer from the legacy SAM and legacy Grass Valley along with us in the merger of these two companies with great history.”

LiveTouch To Replace K2 Dyno for Replay; Switcher Line To Be Expanded
Among the most notable live–sports-production announcements was the news that the K2 Dyno replay product line will gradually be phased out in favor of SAM’s LiveTouch platform. Though continuing to support the Dyno replay product line for the time being, the company plans to move forward with SAM’s LiveTouch as its primary replay product while incorporating several of Dyno’s features into it.

Bringing together two of the biggest names in production switchers, Grass Valley boasts an embarrassment of riches to serve the full spectrum of broadcast customers. Headlining the switchers showcased at NAB 2018 is the new GV K-Frame X, which has the largest IP I/O footprint (up to 192×96 IP) on the market and up to 9M/E, which can be split across multiple suites. GV K-Frame X also supports SD, HD, 1080p, 4K UHD (compressed and uncompressed), and HDR and is SMPTE ST 2110-compliant using 10GbE and 25GbE ports.

In addition, SAM’s Kahuna and Kula switchers join the Grass Valley line, which includes the K-Frame S-Series and V-Series, to create the largest switcher portfolio in the industry.

Grass Valley will also demonstrate its DirectIP+ at-home–production solution, which enables broadcasters to manage at-home productions from any distance and reduces bandwidth requirements between cameras and XCU cradles, allowing broadcasters to link any camera to any XCU without ever touching a cable.

In addition, Grass Valley will have its LDX 86N Series HD/3G/4K/ high-speed cameras (with optional HDR) and Focus 75 Live 720/1080i switchable HD cameras at the booth.

Content Delivery: Morpheus and iTX Unite; iTX Flex Introduced
As a result of the acquisition, Grass Valley has what it says is the No. 1 and No. 2 integrated playout systems on the market in Morpheus and iTX. The company will continue to operate both systems, which it says are quite complementary, although Morpheus will eventually be rebranded as GV UX.

In addition, Grass Valley is launching the iTX Flex cloud automated-playout platform, offering true cloud playout orchestration using microservices provided as SaaS. The platform uses a software playout engine with control and monitoring via an HTML5 browser-based UI. It enables rapid deployment, allowing users to spin up channels in minutes, and is available in a cloud, on-premises, or hybrid configuration.

Networking Solutions: SMPTE ST 2110 Has Arrived
Grass Valley is also showcasing a variety of integrated networking solutions that support SMPTE ST 2110 with common profiles, including the newest version of GV Convergent. Version 1.5 helps users transparently manage SDI and IP routing on one familiar interface with simple visualization of COTS IP network bandwidth and parallel support of SDN and IGMP, as well as audio breakaway and shuffling, and conversion between AES profiles. Also on display are Sirius 840 enterprise routing with MV 850, the Kaleido IP multiviewer, the IQUCP modular reprogrammable compute processing platform for IP interfacing and processing (12G/4K UHD/HDR), XIP-3901 Agile IP/SDI processing platform, and Orbit configuration and monitoring

News Production: GV Stratus 6.0, Ignite 11, and More
The latest version of the GV STRATUS nonlinear production system is also being exhibited. GV STRATUS 6.0 boasts a suite of tools that includes a new web client for access from anywhere on any device and support for the GV I/O SDI ingest server, which features a COTS-based engine built on standard IT hardware. Additionally, GV STRATUS’s powerful new social-media–management capabilities allow users to post, track, and delete any asset. To adapt to more UCG, the XRE transcoder is now built into every GV Render Engine so broadcasters can enable rich transcoding without buying more hardware.

In addition, the latest version of the Ignite news-production–automation tool, Ignite 11, further reduces complexity with event builder, increases flexibility with third-party switcher support, features reduced commissioning time, and controls the latest T2 UHD for playback and recording in 4K UHD and 1080p.

Also on display are more solutions from both the Grass Valley and SAM product lines, including the Momentum workflow and media-asset–management solution, Go! browser-based editor, Rio postproduction and finishing tool, and EDIUS NLE software.

More Acquisitions Ahead for Belden? Absolutely
The SAM acquisition was just the latest chapter in a long line of broadcast-vendor acquisitions in recent years by Grass Valley parent Belden, including Grass Valley itself, Miranda, and ThinkLogical. This has fueled gossip throughout the industry that Belden is far from done on the M&A front. At Sunday’s press conference, Belden EVP of Enterprise Solutions Glenn Pennycook was asked whether the company has more acquisitions planned in the near future.

“Would we consider doing future acquisitions? I think the answer is yes,” he answered. “But there is nothing in the pipeline in the next 90 days or anything like that. We’ll do more acquisitions in broadcast; you can almost bank on it. It’s just a matter of when and what.”