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NewTek's has released its latest effort to democratize broadcasting: 3Play 425, the 2U rack mount system for affordable instant replay and slow motion in HD, for sports and other broadcast uses.
NewTek Senior Vice President of Strategic Development Philip Nelson
First came NewTek TriCaster
, a TV studio in a box that brought affordable and professional broadcasting to a much bigger market segment. Now comes NewTek's latest effort to democratize broadcasting: 3Play 425
, the 2U rack mount system for affordable instant replay and slow motion in HD, for sports and other broadcast uses.
"HD instant replay and slow motion has always been out of reach for people without insanely high budgets," says NewTek Senior Vice President of Strategic Development Philip Nelson. "At NewTek, we always try to allow people who don't have millions of dollars at their disposal to do amazing things." Nelson points out that high-end instant replay systems cost over $100,000. The 3Play 425 system retails in North America for $21,995.
After building TriCaster, says Nelson, NewTek was considering what the next piece of equipment that would assist broadcasters on a budget. "We were looking for other areas people wanted that were prohibitively expensive," says Nelson. High definition instant replay was an obvious choice.
"Instant replay has become a required element of sports programming," he says. "When you see that hockey goal that slips by the skate, or the slam dunk, you can see that magical moment from different camera angles, at different speeds. If you're doing the Super Bowl, you can rent a $150,000 instant replay system. But if you the University of Arkansas and want it for your stadium, your budget is different." Since announcing the 3Play 425, response has been robust. "Customer response has been exciting," says Nelson. "Now we're in the range that people can afford."
The 3Play 425 takes its place in the middle of NewTek's existing 3Play products, with the eight-input 3Play 820 on the 'big' end as a 4U rack mount system, and the cube-sized 3Play 330 as the smallest form factor. "The 425 is in the sweet spot," says Nelson. "It's a professional workflow but not as expensive as the eight-input version. The 3Play 330 has the same form factor as the TriCaster studio. It's a product line that can fit into your budget and your needs." NewTek also provides a path for customers who might want to start small and upgrade. 3Play customers include the NBA Development League
, University of Arkansas
, The Coliseum in Los Angeles
, Turner Sports
and the MLB Allstars.
A four-input/two-output, slow motion system that supports the simultaneous display, recording and instant replay of all channels, NewTek 3Play 425 also offers two fully independent playout channels for output (one for air, one for arena scoreboard display, for example); and network-quality presentation with interpolated slow motion and multi-angle switching during live playback. It also teams with TriCaster (running Rev. 3e software available in December 2011) over local network to maximize production resources and distribution.
Different customers use 3Play in different ways. Nelson describes a TV show, Majors and Minors
, about young people trying to be the best musicians/singers they can be. "They are switching the show with TriCaster," he says. "And then they use the archiving feature of the 3Play to record multiple channels for a line cut later on." The 3Play 425 can record up to 30 total hours of HD for immediate replay.
"The 3Play in general not only allows for instant replay but for the recording of multiple cameras," says Nelson. "If I have a four-camera shoot, I can record all four cameras. You can also build playlists. As you're watching a football game, the replay operator can mark in and out points and then color code it, as a touchdown, penalty, offensive or defensive play. At halftime, with the touch of one button, he can play back a highlights reel of all the big hits of the first half. It's instant editing."
The 3Play 425 user interface is the control center for your production. Connect up to four HD or SD cameras, audio sources, and the included control surface to manage recording, playback, clip marking, playlist creation, and more. Please click on image above for larger view.
The playlist feature also allows the operator to add transitions, such as cross fades, and music. "At the end of the game, I can export any of the playlists into a nonlinear editing system and the post production people can go to work," he says. "So you can easily multi-purpose what you do."
NewTek also announced some new features available in the latest version of 3Play 820. The eight-in/two-out, 4U rack mount system, which began shipping in July 2011, can now be integrated over the network with TriCaster, as well as side-by-side in any switching environment. The 3Play Rev. 2 release also offers independent audio routing of any of its live video and audio inputs and updates to a number of other features. 3Play 820 Rev. 2 is available as a free download for registered owners and is included in all new 3Play 820 purchases.
"3Play 425 is a game changing product for NewTek," says Nelson. "TriCaster is changing the face of broadcast production. Now 3Play fills another need in the affordable broadcast arena."
There's no arguing with Nelson's assessment. NewTek has stayed true to its course, offering professional products at affordable prices and thus enabling many more players to enjoy the benefits of broadcasting. When they began, they couldn't have imagined the many technological forces that would push the overall democratization of media. Now, just like the Play3 425, they find themselves in the sweet spot.