Leading Canadian Broadcaster Puts Kahuna at Heart of Unique "Virtual Set" Strategy Centralizing Production and Utilizing Local Talent
HAMPSHIRE, U.K. — May 13, 2008 — Snell & Wilcox today announced that Global TV, one of Canada's largest broadcasters, has implemented four Kahuna SD/HD multiformat production switchers for the rollout of high-definition (HD) news broadcasts at ten of the network's local affiliates throughout Canada. The Kahuna switchers are playing a unique and critical role in the digital/HDTV launch by enabling Global TV to implement a "virtual set" strategy that utilizes local talent, and yet centralizes production of the news shows at three of its four regional broadcasting centers.
Global TV has implemented a Kahuna switcher at each of its broadcasting centers in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton, where virtual sets have been established for all of the affiliates serviced by these centers. Local news stories are transmitted to the centers via FTP prior to each broadcast, and will be upconverted to HD by the Kahunas in the future for playout during the broadcast. At air time for each program, telemetric HD cameras remotely controlled by the centers transmit the image of the local anchor, sitting in front of a green screen, via fiber. Orad's ProSet virtual studio system provides virtual studio backgrounds and, combined with Kahuna effects and transitions, produces images appropriate to the program's location and transmits the broadcast back to viewers in the local market. (Note: High definition not available in all markets yet.)
"Our local news directors and producers remain in complete control of their programs, but the Kahunas enable us to give each show its own unique, updated look, as well as operate more efficiently by repurposing common content across multiple broadcasts and time zones," said Glenn Elliott, technical producer for Global TV. "And the stations in our smaller markets, where it's not cost-effective to install expensive HD equipment, get the full benefit of leading edge technologies, thus producing highly polished news productions for each local market."
The Kahuna switchers control a continuous stream of local news broadcasts, interlaced with a national news show, that air at multiple times throughout the day to accommodate local time zones. "With this strategy, we have effectively tripled the workload of our regional control centers, but the Kahunas have enabled us to handle the volume smoothly and efficiently," said Elliott. "With other switchers, you need outboard equipment to handle the kind of SD-to-HD conversion that Kahuna does automatically, which makes the systems a very important part of our migration to digital technologies."
"With this novel approach to delivering HDTV broadcasts over a large viewing area, Global TV is achieving the best of all worlds. By concentrating its HD investment in the regional centers, the network can make the migration as cost-effectively as possible while ensuring that all viewers enjoy HDTV programming," said Joe Zaller, vice president, corporate development at Snell & Wilcox. "In making such a large commitment to Kahuna, Global TV has endorsed our leadership in the market for cost-effective and powerful conversion and switching technologies."
Kahuna from Snell & Wilcox is the world's first and only true multi-format SD/HD production switcher. Thanks to a Snell & Wilcox technology called FormatFusion, Kahuna enables simultaneous SD and HD operations in the same mainframe and on the same control panel. This vastly simplifies the HDTV transition for broadcasters by eliminating the need for external HDTV up/down/cross converters in the live production environment, as well as the cost and the signal path delay associated with these products. Kahuna has the smallest size mainframe, lowest weight, and lowest power consumption when compared with other large switchers; and it has been integrated with dozens of third-party products including routers, servers, automation systems, and controllers.