Roland Debuts VR-5 for Small-Scale OB

Small-scale location production for TV and Webcasting is a growing area in sports broadcasting, and Roland Systems Group launched a new product for this sector at the recent Broadcast Video Expo (BVE) in London. The VR-5 is a combined video switcher and audio mixer with USB connectivity that can work with streaming services, including USTREAM and Stickham.

Roland, probably still best known for music-recording equipment, reorganised its operations last year under the Systems Group umbrella and is looking to exploit its audio- and video-manufacturing bases. Phil Skins, product manager for video, comments that the VR-5 is regarded as having the potential to move the company into new markets. Web TV is one of those markets, along with general video production and corporate events.

The Roland Systems Group VR-5 combines video switching, audio mixing, and USB connectivity

The VR-5 comprises a four-channel video switcher, an audio mixer with two mono and five stereo channels, an integrated scan converter for PC inputs, dual LCD touch-control monitors, three video layers with two video sources, a downstream keyer, and play and record capability using MPEG-4 compression.

It is a USB video/audio class unit, and, in addition to the leading streaming services, it can link into video-call platforms, including Skype and iChat.

Demand for products offering both sound and vision operations, particularly with the growth in “broadcasting” through YouTube, says Skins, led to the development of the VR-5, which is able to mix feeds from cameras and microphones in one unit to produce a finished output.

The VR-5 is SD-only right now, with the possibility of an HD version in a year’s time. Shipments are due to begin this month, with a price per unit of £3,399, excluding VAT.