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Betanews Upgrades OB Van to HD with Second Snell & Wilcox Kahuna Multiformat Production Switcher


Kahuna Enables Gradual, Cost-Effective Transition to Mobile HD Production.

Italy’s Betanews has purchased its second Snell & Wilcox SD/HD Kahuna production switcher to upgrade one of the existing SD outside broadcast vehicles in its fleet to full HD operation. Following the successful installation of a 4-M/E SD/HD Kahuna in Betanews’ new flagship OB vehicle, Esterna 10, this incremental upgrade provides a compelling example of how Kahuna is helping broadcast users transition to HD in a controlled, cost-effective manner.

“We have been very happy with the performance of the Kahuna unit installed in our Esterna 10 vehicle, and we chose Kahuna again because there simply were no other competitors that could offer the same functionality in a single box,” said Umberto Chiariello, managing director of Betanews. “Positioned at the center of the production workflow, the Kahuna will allow us to accommodate both SD and HD sources from new and legacy equipment, providing a cost-effective means to transform an older SD unit into a fully functional HD production van.”

Betanews’ new Kahuna multiformat production switcher, supplied through systems integrator and Snell & Wilcox distributor Video Progetti S.r.l., features two mix/effects (M/E) banks. The switcher’s compact 11-RU mainframe is the smallest ever for a system with the Kahuna’s capabilities. In addition to low weight, power consumption, and heat generation, all of which are key issues for space and weight constrained OB vehicles, the Kahuna features simultaneous HD and SD output capabilities from the same mainframe and control panel.

As the Betanews OB van is transitioned to HD operations, Kahuna eliminates the need to invest in a complete HD overhaul or purchase channels of external upconversion to integrate sources from legacy SD equipment into HD productions. With Kahuna, seamless integration of both SD and HD camera feeds, graphics, handheld shots, and archive footage directly into an HD production is possible without the purchase of expensive HD upgrades or extra HD upconversion equipment. Operators can work initially in SD-only or HD-only mode, and then upgrade to multiformat SD/HD operation whenever they choose.

“Our OB fleet serves a wide range of applications and customers, from live broadcasts of sports events to film and television production, corporate and conference events, and advertising spot production. It is critical that we’re able to provide feeds in the right format and aspect ratio for distribution through both domestic and international broadcast groups,” continued Chiariello. “The integration of the Kahuna into an OB van enables flexible, resolution-independent production and allows us to meet the needs of our clients not only in terms of format, but also in terms of quality.”

Betanews S.r.l. has facilities in Naples and Rome and with a regular clientele that includes broadcasters such as Sky Italia, RAI, Mediaset, and major production companies such as Endemol and Magnolia. It is one of the largest operations of its kind in Italy.

Snell & Wilcox, the leader in its field, delivers technologies and products that enable television and satellite broadcasters, post-production facilities, filmmakers, and communications professionals to move content seamlessly between analog, digital, high definition, and file-based systems and to bridge the world’s multiplicity of line/field and color standards. The company provides switchers and keyers, standards conversion systems, networked infrastructure components, and products for noise reduction, image enhancement, and restoration. In business since 1973, Snell & Wilcox maintains its U.S. headquarters in Burbank, Calif., and European headquarters in Hampshire, U.K. Additional offices are located in New York, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, and Russia. Visit for more information.


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