SBA, German OB operator, taps Thomson for HD upgrade

German mobile facilities company Studio Berlin Adlershof GmbH (SBA), based in Berlin, is upgrading one of its largest standard-definition OB vans ( 4) to full high-definition operation with a variety of multiformat production equipment fromThomson. This is the second HD OB van built for SBA, with the new equipment installation in 4 scheduled for completion by midyear.

The decision to upgrade 4 to HD follows an earlier HD OB van build project, which Thomson delivered to SBA in 2006. That original OB van has successfully covered a number of high profile HD productions, such as the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2006. That truck will also cover the UEFA Soccer European Championships in 2008 in Austria and Switzerland. SBA is also currently providing HD coverage of the German national soccer league (Bundesliga).

“The decision by SBA to have Thomson’s Systems Group upgrade 4 from SD to HD shows the confidence that they place in both Thomson services and Thomson Grass Valley HD equipment,” said Patrick Montliaud, Senior Vice President of Thomson’s Networks and Integration Solutions within the Systems division.

“SBA chose Thomson Grass Valley HD equipment based on the excellent experience we have had with our other HD OB VAN during the past two years,” said Michael Rasch, Chief Executive Officer of SBA. “The idea is to secure a unified production platform across SBA’s mobile HD fleet related to technologies and operational concepts that have been very successful for us. Thomson’s system engineers and HD equipment have served us well and we plan to continue to work with them.”

SBA, which offers studio facilities and helps broadcasters televise a wide range of live sport and entertainment events, has ordered a full complement of Thomson Grass Valley equipment for the HD upgrade of 4. This includes six LDK 8000 Series HDTV WorldCam camera and one 3x HDTV SuperSloMo camera, two Kayak HD switchers (one 4 M/E and one 2 M/E version), and a Concerto HD video router configured with a 128×128 matrix to handle both SD and HD signals. Both Kayak HD switchers will be installed on the same 54-foot (16.5 meter) long OB van in two separate production areas. 4 was originally built as an SD OB van by Thomson.

SBA’s new Thomson Grass Valley HD equipment in 4 can produce projects in both the 720p and 1080i HD formats. This upgrade and multiformat capability is important because public broadcasters in Germany will start HD transmissions in 2010.

Adding to its impressive HD capabilities, SBA holds a 49 percent stake in Media Mobil GmbH (MMG), a live sports and entertainment production company based in Leipzig, Germany. MMG also recently ordered a brand new 54-foot (16.5 meter) HD OB Van, complete with Thomson Grass Valley HD equipment. This close relationship will enable the two companies to join forces on some projects and become an even stronger competitor in the marketplace.

SBA is a subsidiary of Studio Hamburg GmbH, located on the Adlershof Media Compound in Berlin.

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