(IBC, Amsterdam – 9 September 2005) Avid Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVID), today announced that the leading U.K. digital broadcaster, British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), has adopted the Avid DNxHD™ mastering-quality HD codec for postproduction in preparation for launching its SkyHD service in the U.K. and Ireland in the first half of 2006. SkyHD will offer movies, sports, general entertainment, and documentaries – all in high-definition – on several HD channels.
In early 2005, BSkyB's technical and operational teams were charged with finding the most effective HD technology for all parts of the production chain. John Lennon, BSkyB's head of Broadcast Strategy, and Chris Whatmore, BSkyB's head of Post Production, led the pre-selection and evaluation process of HD postproduction platforms.
“We wanted a shared HD production environment because it was important for us to have the agility and benefits that we already enjoy with an SD shared workflow, particularly due to the very large volumes of material we produce,” said Lennon. “However, it seemed the only choices available were HD production islands with local storage and a basic push-pull material workflow, which would have meant that resource scheduling and system flexibility would be very limited and the workflow restricted. Also, to operate at uncompressed HD at 1.4 Gb/s, the data storage costs and network overheads were huge. The Avid DNxHD codec was the right solution for our needs.”
Whatmore said, “BSkyB's technical team undertook a detailed evaluation of the Avid DNxHD codec, and we found the performance very impressive indeed. We tested Avid DNxHD with our own test material sequences, which we knew to be difficult to encode successfully, as well as running multi-generation tests and concatenating other codecs with Avid DNxHD. We found no practical limitations, even in the most demanding and complex keyed sequences. Avid DNxHD is certainly the best compression technology for our HD postproduction platform.”
BSkyB will use Avid DNxHD at 185 Mb/s because it offers full HD 1920 raster support at 10-bit colour depth. The broadcaster also purchased five Avid® DS Nitris™ systems for its editing requirements, in order to have sophisticated compositing tools and standard editing functions available in one system. The systems will be producing promo-style sports packages, studio inserts, and programme material for other HD channels.
“At 185 megabits per second, the bit rate is still slightly under uncompressed SD. This means we can attach five concurrent HD clients to an Avid Unity™ MediaNetwork, providing around 90 hours of mirrored online HD shared storage at a cost point slightly less than standard uncompressed SD,” Whatmore said. “Another key benefit of using Avid Unity is the ability to freely schedule work and editors in any suite and simply pick up a job without having to manually move media between clients.”
“BSkyB's adoption of Avid DNxHD is a significant event for Avid and the wider postproduction community,” said Miguel Ferros , Avid's product marketing manager for Post. “In order for European Broadcasters to embrace HD, we knew we had to deliver a postproduction pipeline that was not only as smooth as that of SD but was also cost-effective, whilst maintaining the quality of HD throughout the entire postproduction process. We are very happy to see BSkyB making Avid DNxHD an integral part of their move into HD.”
British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) is the operator of the UK 's largest digital television platform and a leading broadcaster of sports, movies, entertainment, and news. For more information visit www.sky.com
About Avid Technology, Inc.
Avid Technology, Inc. is a world leader in digital nonlinear media creation, management, and distribution solutions, enabling film, video, audio, animation, games, and broadcast professionals to work more efficiently, productively, and creatively. For more information about the company's Oscar®, Grammy® , and Emmy® award-winning products and services, please visit: www.avid.com.