Manufacturer Thomson Broadcast has introduced a digital VTR at NAB that threatens to make tape-based mechanical VTRs obsolete, writes Will Strauss.
The Grass Valley M-Series iVDR (intelligent Video Digital Recorders) can do almost everything a traditional VTR can, including play back, record, offer removable media and ingest directly from a camera. But it also threatens to eclipse traditional VTRs by supporting multiple channels, simultaneous playout and recording, clip editing and trimming, playlist creation, and the ability to exchange materials with a variety of applications using industry-standard protocols. Thomson believes it's the nearest thing so far to a genuine digital studio in a box.
"There are literally hundreds of thousands of VTRs installed today but they are expensive to maintain, limited in their capabilities and difficult, if not impossible, to upgrade," said Mukul Krishna, senior industry analyst with the growth consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. "The openness, and feature set make the market potential for [this] enormous. It's what the broadcast industry has needed to help it move into the digital realm."
The M-Series iVDR is designed to be used in broadcast studios and newsrooms, mobile production trucks, fixed-venue facilities such as sports arenas, and corporate and governmental video production facilities. Its features include a touch-screen user interface that mimics a VTR's front panel and works with industry-standard removable optical media. The M-Series iVDR is scheduled to be available from late July.