Grass Valley ‘4K and Format Agnostic by 2014’

By Adrian Pennington, contributing editor

Grass Valley aims to have cameras and production equipment capable of at least 4K resolution production by 2014. However, the company says it remains grounded in the priorities of today’s broadcasters and that 4K broadcasting is not one of them.

Graham Sharp, CMO and Senior VP of Corporate Development, says, Grass Valley aims to become format agnostic as quickly as possible by using more IT components in its platform and that the industry’s move to using IP packets for distributing video means that resolution won’t matter.

“Obviously higher pixel counts requires more bandwidth, more processing power and therefore more cost but the point is that the technology is no longer the barrier,” he explains. “The decision to produce or broadcast at higher resolutions will come down to the business model.”

The company refreshed its entire line-up at IBC with a range of kit from cameras to playout supporting 1080p.

“We are the only company to offer a complete workflow in 1080p and we are also in the middle of working on a whole next-generation architecture which will be format agnostic,” Sharp adds.

The LDX camera series and new Karrera and Kayenne production switchers launched at IBC are based on this new approach.

“If you want to capture and process in 4K then our next generation platforms will be format agnostic and based on IP and IT technology,” he says. “Our cameras will be capable, in short order, of going up to 4K.”

Stressing that the LDX cameras are only 1080p at this stage, he revealed that the underlying technology on which they are built is capable of scaling upwards.

“The architecture in the cameras uses three 2K CMOS sensors which can be combined in such a way as to deliver higher resolution images,” he adds. “We have also integrated a huge processing block so functionality becomes software upgradable. We will introduce further IT technology in phases over the next two years so that by the end of 2014 we will have completely transitioned our product line.”

The reality, says Graham is that in the trenches broadcaster’s need to transition to multi-screen delivery and to produce more content without additional cost. Some relatively wealthy broadcasters will experiment with new premium services but it will be only a few not the majority.

“We are trying to be as format agnostic as we can and then see what happens in the market which will be driven by cost and business priorities and not by technology,” he adds.