NAB Reflections: Grass Valley Touts the Benefits of GV/SAM Integration

An early example combines best parts of GV Dyno with SAM LiveTouch

NAB 2018 was an important one for both Grass Valley and SAM: the two companies came together publicly for the first time following the acquisition of SAM by Belden, the parent company of Grass Valley.

Grass Valley VP, Live Production, Mark Hilton, encouraged booth visitors not only to check out a range of new products but also to learn more about how Belden’s acquisition of SAM will change the course of Grass Valley product design. “One of the biggest benefits of integration,” he says, “is we can leverage the best minds in engineering.”

Grass Valley’s Mark Hilton says the integration of SAM’s R&D department has been a solid benefit for the company.

One of the earliest results is the decision to integrate the best parts of the GV Dyno replay server with the SAM LiveTouch replay and highlight system. The Dyno replay server will still be available, but there will be no more development. However, functions that Dyno has but LiveTouch does not, such as interoperability with EVS or ProRes support, will be integrated into LiveTouch.

“LiveTouch has some really cool integrated functionality that makes it strong for fixed facilities,” Hilton explains. “It’s also ahead of Dyno with features like XAVC support and, soon, 4K super-slo-mo as well as integrated HDR up and down mapping. But we will position LiveTouch into the truck environment over time.”

The Dyno/LiveTouch integration is currently an exception to Grass Valley’s folding in SAM product lines. The new Grass Valley, for example, now offers Grass Valley’s production switchers as well as SAM’s Kahuna and Kula switchers. Combined, the two brands account for 40% of the global switcher market.

“We are keeping the Kahuna and the Grass K-Frame lineups intact and on their roadmaps,” says Hilton. “Our first focus is to let people know that we are not chopping products off at the knees.”

Headlining the switchers showcased at NAB 2018 was the new GV K-Frame X, which has the largest IP I/O footprint (up to 192×96 IP) on the market and up to 9M/E, which can be split across multiple suites. It also supports SD, HD, 1080p, 4K/UHD (compressed and uncompressed), and HDR and is SMPTE ST 2110-compliant using 10GbE and 25GbE ports.

Among other products featured were a new web client for access to GV STRATUS from anywhere on any device and support of the GV I/O SDI ingest server, which features a COTS-based engine built on standard IT hardware. Additionally, GV STRATUS has new powerful social-media–management capabilities allowing users to post, track, and delete any asset. To adapt to more UCG, the XRE transcoder is now built into every GV render engine, so broadcasters can enable rich transcoding without buying more hardware.

Also rolled out at NAB 2018 was Ignite 11. The latest version of the news-production–automation tool reduces complexity with event builder, increases flexibility with third-party switcher support, features reduced commissioning time, and controls the latest T2 UHD for playback and recording in 4K/UHD and 1080p.

“It’s fun to get together with what was the SAM R&D team and talk about problems and how they address them,” says Hilton. “That is one of the biggest benefits of the integration.”

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