Technology

Avid Upgrades Newsroom Products

12/16/2009 6:37 PM Eastern

Avid is launching upgraded versions of a number of its key
products for newsroom production with an eye towards helping broadcasters
reduce costs and manage their production more efficiently, particularly in a
high-definition environment.

"Customers are taking a very sharp look at costs and seeking
to drive the most efficient operations they can," said Avid senior market
segment manager, broadcast Jim Frantzreb. "Value and interoperability is an
important concern for them [as they seek to maintain legacy systems] and they
are trying to sharpen their competiveness [by] being more agile in terms of how
they are delivering the news."

Later this month, Avid will begin offering its Avid iNeews
3.0 newsroom-computer system, the Avid iNews Command 2.5 device-automation
system, Avid Unity ISIS 2.1 real-time media network solution and the Avid
AirSpeed Multistream 1.3 video server.

Some of the upgrades in the iNews and iNews Command products
were designed to offer great openness and integration with other products,
Frantzreb said.

New features include the iNews Web Services API,
which simplifies news production by making it possible to integrate the iNews system
with third-party systems for groupware or automation.

iNews Command 2.5 now offers greater support for third-party
graphics systems like Chyron. A graphics SDK/API
allows any outside vendors of character generators, logo inserters, tickers or
branding applications to build plug-ins for their systems.

"The enhancements allow customer to approach the whole of HD
news production in a much more efficient way," said Avid technical marketing specialist,
news and automation, Pam Gill.

The AirSpeed Multi Stream server has been upgraded to offer
even better ingest and playout for high quality HD content. The AirSpeed Multi
Stream server now supports ingest and playback of Avid DNxHD 185 and 220 10-bit
HD Video. It is also capable of handling twice the number of Avid DNxHD 120 and
145 8-bit HD video streams as earlier generations of the server did.

Working with proxies will also be easier, Frantzreb said.

"One of the things that makes HD workflows more efficient is
the use of proxies so that people can do all the editing, the shot selection,
localization [in a lower bandwidth proxy] and then easily link that back to the
real time video and automatically play it out," Frantzreb said.

Although the products have not officially been launched, WISC-TV
in Madison Wisconsin has already beta tested the iNews Command 2.5 and plans to
implement it.

Likewise, the Information and Media Technology Department at
Full Sail
University is beta testing the Avid
Unity ISIS 2.1 product.

"Reaction from the market has been very positive," said
Frantzreb. "A lot of this was prompted by customer requests."

Frantzreb also noted that the broadcast segment is beginning
to recover from some of its troubles this year, though he expects stations to
remain cost-conscious.

"We project 2010 to be a better year," he said. "It is not
going to be a banner year, but we see indications that broadcasters are seeing
to invest.

"Solutions that offer them lower-cost ways to work
more efficiently and pursue new opportunities" will be in demand, he added.

September