Broadcast Pix Expands New Slate Switcher Family at IBC 2006

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New Slate 2100 is the Only Production Switcher with Built-in Graphics, Clip Store, Monitoring and Fail-Safe Switching

Last Updated: August 1, 2006 9:20 pm GMT
(BURLINGTON, Massachusetts -- August 1, 2006) Capitalizing on its success providing innovative live television production switchers with an entire studio of built-in devices, Broadcast Pix™ will introduce the new Slate™ 2100 at this year’s IBC trade show in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Hall 9; Booth 520).

The Slate 2100 is the third product in the Broadcast Pix Slate switcher family, joining the Slate 100 touch-screen based system (from $9,995) introduced at NAB 2006 and the Slate 1000 control panel based system (from $18,795) introduced at InfoComm in June 2006. Priced at $26,900, the Slate 2100 takes all the powerful features of the Slate 1000 switcher, including built-in character generator (CG), clip store, and full-motion monitoring, and adds additional features and functionality that address the needs of even the most demanding live television application. Extending beyond what the Slate 1000 offers, the 2100 features 8-10 live video inputs, fail-safe switching, a dual-channel clip store, a fourth keyer, tally and AES/EBU audio.

“The new Broadcast Pix Slate switchers are the only production switchers on the market with a built-in CG, or a built-in clip store, or full-motion monitoring of outputs and sources,” according to Broadcast Pix President Ken Swanton. “Packing in an entire control room worth of equipment makes them highly affordable, but the real beauty is that Slate enables a solo operator to create a high-end broadcast look that previously required a team of operators. Solo operators can easily create live video complete with visually compelling graphics, animated text, picture-in-pictures, keyed clips, spinning logos and even robotic control of cameras. The new Slate 2100 provides all this in a larger system that can handle more cameras, and features fail-safe switching for non-stop on-air productions.”

Value-Added Integration
The Slate 2100 live production switcher includes all that the Slate 1000 offers — a control panel driving a powerful, rack-mounted computer packed with built-in capabilities that are expensive “add-ons” to conventional production switchers, including an Inscriber CG, still store, logo generator, clip store capable of storing up to four hours of uncompressed digital clips or animations with key and audio, and full motion monitoring on the VGA screen of program, preview and camera sources. To all this, the Slate 2100 adds an intelligent Break-out-Box, named iBoB™.

Powerful I/O
The Slate 2100 doubles the Slate 1000’s four standard live video inputs to eight, and is expandable to ten, allowing more cameras to be attached. Unlike conventional switchers, all these inputs can be devoted to cameras and other live devices, since none are consumed by the CG, still store, clips stores, etc. that are built inside the system’s computer. Slate switchers have built-in frame synchronizers allowing Slate inputs to be either genlocked broadcast equipment or asynchronous sources such as a DVD player.

Whereas video and audio cables plug directly into the back of the computer on the Slate 1000 with BNCs for SDI and break-out cables for analog video and audio, the iBoB provides professional secure I/O connections with BNCs for all video, as well as XLRs for audio. The iBoB has unique SmartLights, which are LEDs next to each input that tell the operator if a video source is present and whether it has reference or is asynchronous. No other switcher provides this information, which creates peace of mind for operators of all experience levels.

Fail-Safe and Ready for Primetime
“There are other integrated ‘studio-in-a-box‘ systems on the market, but they all lack two things which the Slate 2100 provides - a professional control panel that is instantly familiar to switcher operators and fail-safe switching so you can keep switching cameras even if the computer stops.” explained Swanton. “While Broadcast Pix computers are extremely reliable, any computer-based system used in live TV production must be ready for the day when its network goes down, its computer stops or something is simply unplugged.”

The Slate 2100’s control panel is connected to the iBoB with both a network cable and a redundant serial cable. If the computer or network goes down — the serial control takes over and enables the operator to continue switching cameras. The Slate 2100 also comes standard with dual redundant power supplies for both the control panel and iBoB that automatically fail-over, as well as a back-up SoftPanel that can take over all panel operations if the physical control panel should ever fail. No other switcher has a back up softpanel or standard redundant power supplies.

The Slate 2100 also adds a downstream keyer to the Slate 1000’s three keyers, for a total of four keyers. This downstream key is inside the iBoB where it can accommodate an external video source with key, such as an older CG, or a special-purpose device that the operator might wish to employ. The Slate 2100 expands the single channel clip store in the Slate 1000 to dual channel, and increases clip storage capacity from two to four hours. The Slate 2100 also adds built-in tally relays.

Integrated Monitoring Shines
A unique, popular feature on all Slate models is integrated monitoring that enables multiple, full-motion video images to be displayed on a single screen. “With conventional switchers, users need to buy and connect video monitors for preview, program, and each camera source. This is both expensive and cumbersome,” said Swanton. “Recently devices have become popular that enable these monitor needs to be met with one large screen VGA monitor, but while you save on not buying individual video monitors, these boxes are expensive. The Slate 2100 includes that technology for free, plus it provides much better feedback to the switcher operator than anything on the market, including tally, clip time count down, clip and graphic names and thumbnails, and the contents of every source and keyer. You can even click on the monitor wall to control the video, which turns out to be a great way for new users to learn in minutes to switch their first show.” The monitors can be shown on either a touchscreen, widescreen or very large wall mounted widescreen.

Broadcast Pix will demonstrate the Slate 2100 at IBC, along with the Slate 1000 and 100 systems. The 2100 will be shipping in September 2006 and is also available as an upgrade from a Slate 1000. Slate switchers have already been sold in seven countries.

About Broadcast Pix
Broadcast Pix is the leader in integrating switcher and computer technology to provide live television production systems. These are more powerful, easier to use, and much more cost effective than a traditional control room of individual components, yet retain a fast action human interface and robustness. Broadcast Pix switchers enable a single operator to create engaging live video, yet gracefully adds operators on its network when desired. It is the only switcher that can be controlled remotely over the Internet. Broadcast Pix is based in Burlington, Massachusetts, with offices in California and Europe. Customers include leading broadcast, cable, corporate, education, entertainment, mobile, faith and government studios. For more information on Broadcast Pix, go to http://www.broadcastpix.com

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