‘Stay Tuned’ for Grass Valley Sale Details; New Products Tuned Into Economic Reality

In the three months since Grass Valley (Booth SL106) parent Thomson announced that it will be spinning off the Grass Valley business unit, it has been business as usual for the newly rebranded Grass Valley Co. In fact, said Grass Valley SVP Jeff Rosica at the company’s NAB press conference, business has been better than usual.

“Does this worry our organization? No,” he said of the sale. “In our company history, we’ve had changes in shareholders; we’ve faced recessions and new competitive threats. Continuity is very important to our customers, and they are continuing to place major orders with us, especially since the announcement was made to sell Grass Valley in late January.”

Rosica noted that the company is currently in the midst of the sale process, balancing “a number of serious inquiries,” but timing the process is hard to predict. Rather than speculate, he simply encouraged the reporters in the room to “stay tuned.”

The biggest product news from Grass Valley is the unveiling of the Kayenne Video Production Center, specifically geared toward sports production (click here for the full story). The 4.5M/E, 8RU switcher consumes less than 1,000 W, which according to Jay Shinn, general manager for production switchers and effects, makes it the “greenest switcher ever made.”

The Kayenne is not currently 3G–capable, which was a deliberate decision by the Grass Valley team. “Looking at the investment that our customers are going to make, there really isn’t a strong business model today for the 3-gig production environment,” Shinn said.

“Today, all manufacturers have to help broadcasters do things more efficiently and at lower cost,” Rosica added. “Three-gig is going to happen, and we’re going to move forward, but we also have to look very carefully at the market today.”

The current economic recession means an emphasis on professional and production applications, with particular stress on cost-effectiveness and compatibility. Rosica touted the enhanced integration between Final Cut Pro and Grass Valley’s K2 media servers, which allows real-time editing, vital for sports applications.

Rosica also pointed to the new LDK 3000 HD camera, designed to help studios produce HD on a budget, as particularly relevant, since the camera costs 30% less than the LDK 8000. Compatible with all existing equipment in Grass Valley’s HD camera line, the LDK 3000 can switch between 1080i and 720p.