Grass Valley (company)
|Founded||April 7, 1959|
|Headquarters||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Marco Lopez, President; Luc St-Georges, COO; Michael Cronk, SVP, Strategic Marketing; Sydney Lovely, SVP, Research & Development; Gilmond Lapointe, SVP, Services & Support; Steve Ronnenberg, SVP, Sales & Marketing|
Grass Valley is a Canadian manufacturer of television production and broadcasting equipment, including playout, video cameras, editing and media storage, and character generators. Based in Montreal, Quebec, it was formed by the March 2014 merger of the Grass Valley Group with Miranda Technologies—which were both acquired by Belden in 2014 and 2012 respectively.
Grass Valley Group was founded as a tiny research and development company in 1959 by Dr. Donald Hare in the small town of Grass Valley, California, in the foothills of California's Sierra Nevada range. Hare chose Grass Valley after learning about it from his friend, Charles Litton, Sr.. In 1964, Grass Valley demonstrated its first video product, a Video Distribution Amplifier in a hotel room at the National Association of Broadcasters convention. By 1968, the Grass Valley Group had introduced its first vision mixer, the flagship product that helped build the company's reputation.
The company merged with Tektronix in 1974, and with the creativity and vision of Rick Mathewson was very successful for the next fifteen years. When Tektronix divested its printing, video and networking divisions it sold the video business to a private investor, Terry Gooding of San Diego, California, who reincorporated it under the name Grass Valley Group, Inc. The sale closed on September 24, 1999.
In 2002, the French electronics giant Thomson Multimedia, now known as Technicolor SA, acquired Grass Valley Group. After coming under the ownership of Thomson, Grass Valley Group was forced to merge its product line with the existing professional and broadcast products of its new parent company, with mixed results.
After the financial crisis of 2008, Thomson defaulted on its financial covenants and was forced by its creditors to divest its Grass Valley business, PRN and other manufacturing entities. On January 29, 2009, Thomson announced that they were putting the Grass Valley division up for sale.
In 2010, the Grass Valley business unit, not including the head-end and transmission businesses, was acquired by private equity firm Francisco Partners and resumed operating as an independent company with offices in San Francisco, California on January 1, 2011. The company announced in August 2013 it would move its headquarters to Hillsboro, Oregon, later that year to an existing office.
On March 31, 2014, the company was acquired by Belden Inc. from Francisco Partners and merged with Miranda Technologies, which Belden acquired on July 27, 2012. The merged company operates as Grass Valley.
Products & Technologies
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The company offers many families of products: cameras, production switchers, routing switchers, media servers and storage (including replay), editing systems, and integrated playout. The company primarily serves three market segments: live production (live studio and outside broadcast production), news (news production), and playout (content management, playout, and publishing). Solutions are based on SDI video transport as well as IP video transport using SMPTE 2022-6. Grass Valley is also a member of the TICO Alliance which supports TICO compression for 4K/UHD transport over legacy SDI infrastructure and modern IP production and contribution networks.
Proprietary technologies, and those found within Grass Valley solutions include:
Xensium—The next-generation Xensium-FT imagers, as used in the LDX range of cameras, are a new generation of camera imagers which combine all the advantages from CMOS imaging technology such as high sensitivity in all video modes, high dynamic range, and low power consumption. They also include global shutter behavior which was before only possible with CCD imagers.
LDX—The LDX range consists of two series: LDX 80 and LDX 86.
The LDX 80 Series consists of four system cameras and three smaller compact cameras (LDX C80 Compact series) for POV and space limited installations. The LDX 80 Series consists of LDX 80 Flex (single-format 1080i or 720p), LDX 80 Première (dual-format 1080i and 720p), LDX 80 Elite (triple-format 1080i, 720p, and 1080PsF) and LDX 80 WorldCam (quad-format 1080i, 720p, 1080PsF, and 1080p). The LDX Compact Series cameras consist of Première, Elite, and WorldCam models with format support exactly the same as the LDX Series.
The LDX 86 Series cameras consist of five system cameras and two smaller high frame rate compact cameras (LDX C86 Compact series) for POV and space limited installations. LDX 86 Series system camera consist of two single-speed and three high frame rate cameras with a parallel path to the top-of-the-line LDX 86 Universe single-speed and high frame rate camera. System cameras include the LDX 86 WorldCam (1080p50/59.94 & 1080PsF23.98/24/25/29.97 & 1080i50/59.94 & 720p50/59.94), LDX 86 4K (3840x2160p50/59.94 & 1080p50/59.94 & 1080PsF23.98/24/25/29.97 & 1080i50/59.94 & 720p50/59.94), LDX 86 HiSpeed (HD: 1X/3X - 1080i50/59.94/150/179.82 & 720p50/59.94/150/179.82), LDX 86 XtremeSpeed (HD: 1X/3X/6X & 3G: 1X/3X - 1080p50/59.94/150/179.82 & 1080PsF25/29.97 & 1080i50/59.94/150/179.82/300/359.64 & 720p50/59.94/150/179.82/300/359.64), and LDX 86 Universe (HD: 1X/3X/6X & 3G: 1X/3X & 4K: 1X - 3840x2160p50/59.94 & 1080p50/59.94/150/179.82 & 1080PsF23.98/24/25/29.97 & 1080i50/59.94/150/179.82/300/359.64 & 720p50/59.94/150/179.82/300/359.64).
Two unique broadcast camera technologies are used in the LDX range. The first is a GV e-Licensing program enabling the camera to be upgraded to the next camera in the range (with additional features as well), either on a 7-day basis or with a perpetual license. The second feature is the ability for the WorldCam models to acquire in 1080p mode without any additional lighting from 1080i or 720p HD modes.
XCU—The eXtensible Control Unit dockable base station is a revolutionary concept in camera transmission. XCU is made out of two distinct units: the base station and a fixed cradle. The cradle can be mounted and wired into equipment racks, and the base station can be docked into different cradles as needed. All specific settings needed for the production environment are memorized in an EEPROM inside the cradle and will automatically configure the base station when it’s powered on. This makes moving base stations between OB trucks and studios fairly simple. XCU is available for HD, 3G, 4K, 3X HD/3G, and 6X HD with SDI and IP transport.
GV Director—Designed for creatives and not technicians, GV Director is an integrated nonlinear production platform that combines the functionality of a switcher, video server, graphics generator, and multiviewer in a simple, powerful, and creative workspace.
GV Stratus—Grass Valley's architecture for managing video file-based workflows is called GV Stratus, an open SOA software suite that manages video content from glass (camera) to glass (television or IP connected device). Interacting with K2 media servers and storage, GV Stratus provides a unified, expandable foundation for new applications and workflows. The tools within the GV Stratus application framework can be adopted in an almost infinite number of combinations, meaning GV Stratus can be tailored to studio production, play-to-air, news, and many other broadcast and video production environments. There are four GV Stratus versions: GV Stratus News, GV Stratus Live, GV STRATUS Playout and GV Stratus DMP (digital media platform). Each version can operate independently or in any combination. Operationally, GV Stratus opens up a new user experience paradigm, with the potential to break down the traditional silos of users, technologies, and tasks. Individual users can tailor their GV Stratus desktop environment according to the task at hand. At the workgroup level, GV Stratus enables collaborative workflows where everyone has access to every clip on the network with the tools required to manage the content. In this way, GV Stratus allows the media enterprise to optimize workflows by consolidating roles for efficiencies, while at the same enabling a team and cross-organizational collaboration.
In addition to the above, there's a wide range of products offered under the Grass Valley name that were formerly offered as Miranda Technologies. These include:
Densite modular signal processing, Kaleido multiviewers, NVISION routing switchers, Vertigo graphics, Softel captioning and subtitling, Telecast fiber systems, iTX integrated playout platform, Imagestore master control and branding, iControl monitoring and control, LUMO fiber converters, and more.
Grass Valley has sales, services and engineering centers throughout the world.
Americas: Montreal, San Francisco, Hillsboro, Nevada City, Miami, São Paulo, Burbank, New York, Boston, Salt Lake City.
EMEA: Reading (HQ), Breda/Deventer, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid, Brussels, Stockholm, Dubai, Moscow, Istanbul.
APAC: Singapore (HQ), Tokyo, Kobe, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Delhi, Sydney, Melbourne.
Competitors also in the half a billion scale are Sony, Avid Technology, Harris Corporation (now Imagine Communications) and Evertz Technologies; together with Grass Valley, they represent around 40% of the supply side of the market. A myriad of smaller niche vendors also compete as the market, which remains very fragmented awaiting a logical wave of consolidations as the industry fast transforms itself from aerial broadcast to video over IP.
- GVG History Timeline: 1959-2009 Retrieved 2014-03-10
- "Thomson to Sell Grass Valley". TV Technology. January 29, 2009. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
- "Francisco Partners Completes Acquisition of Grass Valley". tvtechnology.com. January 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-03.
- Rogoway, Mike (August 29, 2013). "Grass Valley, a video technology company with roots at Tektronix, moves HQ from San Francisco to Hillsboro". The Oregonian. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- "Belden Set To Acquire Grass Valley, Merge Ops With Miranda". sportsvideo.org. February 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
- "Belden reveals why it bought Miranda". TV Technology. September 9, 2012. Retrieved 2014-04-16.
- Miranda's website www.miranda.com
- 2002. "Share the News Three New Systems from Grass Valley Group Are Intended to Facilitate Work Flow". Broadcasting & Cable. 132: 35.
- 2001. "Equipment Purchase — French Manufacturer Thomson Multimedia Acquires Grass Valley Group". Broadcasting & Cable. 131: 12.