Matrox Bringing Thunderbolt To Their Media Converters

Matrox gave proof of concept demos on their Matrox MXO2 devices featuring Thunderbolt™ connectivity featured on new Macintosh computers. These devices provide broadcast-quality video and audio capture, monitoring, output, and H.264 encoding for use with leading editing and content creation applications. The new Thunderbolt technology enabled Matrox MXO2 devices will be available in July 2011 at prices starting from $649. Matrox Thunderbolt adapters for all MXO2 devices (if you already own them can be purchased as an add-on at $299.

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Sonnet Brings New Possibilities To The Mac Thanks To Thunderbolt

Sonnet, a long time Mac vendor, had a bunch of new solutions for the Mac based on the newly released 1.5 TB solid state drive the Fusion F2, uses the new Thunderbolt technology to provide incredible speed and capacity in an incredibly small package. The device is about the size of two CD cases stacked one on top of another. Although I don’t have pricing for the new version, their SATA version is about $500.

The Sonnet Echo Expansion Chassis allows you to connect any high performance PCIe 2.0 adapter into any computer with a thunderbolt port, such as the new Macbook Pro. With 2 Thunderbolt ports you can daisy chain up to 6 devices to a single and its speed would allow you to use cards like video capture cards; 8GB Fibre channel cards, RAID controller cards, 10Gigabit Ethernet cards. The Echo Expansion Chassis comes in 2 sizes standard and XL, both come complete with fans to cool the cards, and come with the relevant integrated power supply. It will be released this summer. Pricing has not yet been announced yet, but it would allow you to make the Macbook Pro the centerpiece of your editing system, connecting this device when digitizing or outputting, but working free when editing.

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New ViewCast Osprey Video Cards

ViewCast announced the new PCI Express Osprey 260e and 460e at NAB. The Osprey 260e provides one channel selectable between composite, component, or Y/C video and balanced or unbalanced audio in a low profile form factor great for small enclosures. The Osprey 460e card is designed to simultaneously capture four independent channels of analog video and unbalanced stereo audio signals and process them independently, minimizing internal PC space requirements. The channel density offered by the Osprey 460e dramatically reduces total system cost by increasing the capture capacity within a single system. The 460e A/V option also provides additional video inputs and four stereo balanced audio inputs to the rear panel connectors. The optional video inputs include the selection of component or Y/C (S-Video) for each of the 4 channels or 3 additional composite inputs for a total of 16 switchable composite inputs per card. It will be really interesting to test this card with applications such as Panopto to see how well it can simultaneously capture inputs  from four sources such as different room angles or document cameras.

The 260e is due out at the end of July 2011 and the 460e will be available at the end of May.

Facilis Media Shared Storage

Shared media storage differs from standard shared storage that is used for normal computer files. It has to be fast and provide a lot of throughput. Facilis has a unique solution for shared media storage in that it is relatively inexpensive (starting at under $15,000 for around 12TB), charges no fees for clients and can be integrated with Avid, Final Cut, Pro Tools or even LINUX workstations. Multiple Windows and Mac OSX clients may simultaneously write to a virtual volume without any third party software, you can dynamically change volumes on the fly and it can be connected via Ethernet or Fibre Channel connectivity. As we continue to talk about shared media storage for places like the MPS Lab, this is one company we should consider.

Professional Firewire & USB Media Converter

The new Roland VC30 is a professional level media converter that converts to either firewire or USB. The cost is around $2000, but I discussed a possible use with video conferencing software and they indicated it should present itself to any application as a USB webcam. The unit is going to be released this summer and we are on a list to evaluate. This could allow us to deploy PTZ cameras with applications such as Movi or Skype if it works.

Wirecast 4.1

Telestream’s Wirecast 4.1 will be released in the next few weeks with some great enhancements. Wirecast is a product that is essentially a software based switcher/streaming tool. It’s the base software for uStream’s Producer tool I use to webcast events such as Froshlife on uStream. There are some exciting new features announced for 4.1 including support for Osprey cards (which I believe the Chapel was very interested in), support for a Matrox card that would allow you to switch from up to 4 HD-SDI inputs on the Mac, direct integration support for Skype (which is used by shows like Office Hours) and support for IP based cameras as inputs.

uStream’s Producer software product is made by the Wirecast folks and features some of the same functionality as the Wirecast product. There’s no date when/if this new functionality will be added to Producer or Producer Pro.