Grass Valley says broadcasters won't have to choose between investing in future-proof 4K cameras and the high-speed HD cameras they need for sports coverage today. At NAB, the company announced the new LDX 86 Universe, a broadcast camera that's switchable between 4K imaging and high-speed HD photography at up to 6X.

The LDX 86 Universe now sits on top of Grass Valley's LDX 86 series of cameras, which previously included the LDX HiSpeed 3X 1080i/720p "super-slow-motion" and LDX XtremeSpeed 6X 1080i/720p (3X at 1080p) "ultra-slow-motion" cameras. New to the line-up are the LDX 86 WorldCam and the LDX 86 4K. The LDX 86 HiSpeed and XtremeSpeed cameras are software-upgradeable to 4K capability; likewise, the LDX 86 4K can be software-upgraded to run at high speeds in HD mode.

Upgrades can be purchased on a weekly (seven-day) or perpetual basis, and can be stockpiled in advance for activation when needed using an option Grass Valley calls BOWL, short for "bunch of weekly licenses." 

The LDX 86 Universe sits on top of the heap, offering every video format available in the LDX 86 line-up with no upgrades required.

Confused? Grass Valley's camera hierarchy chart shows you what formats are supported, how the upgrade paths work, and how the five models relate to each other.


Source: Grass Valley

It's OK to mix and match cameras from the LDX 86 line-up in different positions, since the cameras share GV's proprietary three-chip 2/3-inch Xensium-FT global-shutter CMOS sensor. The weight (4.6 lbs including handgrip and shoulder pad), power consumption (36W) and dimensions (170mmx200mmx180mm) also remain constant across the LDX 86 range, Grass Valley said.

The cameras are supported by Grass Valley's 4K-ready Universe XF transmission systems, which are compatible with their various image formats. A new IP base station adds 10 Gigabit Ethernet IP connectivity to the typical baseband connections for 1.5G or 3G video, with support for 4K video coming via a future firmware upgrade.

Also new with the LDX Universe line is K2 Dyno Universe, an HD/6X/4K-switchable replay system with pan and zoom using speedy solid-state shared storage. The K2 Dyno Universe comes in 4RU and 6RU versions, depending on whether a user wants to optimize for space savings or 4K performance. 

"What once was considered technology only for 'specialty' positions can now be appled to standard replay and camera chains," said GV SVP of Strategic Marketing Mike Cronk in a prepared statement. "With the combination of LDX Universe and K2 Dyno Universe, HD camera and replay positions can now become extreme-speed or even 4K positions with access to any shot from any angle during any production."

Grass Valley said Denver's Mobile TV Group (MTVG) has built a new 4K mobile production unit around the LDX 86 Universe, a Kayenne K-Frame 4K production switcher and Kaleido multiviewers. In a quote provided by Grass Valey, MTVG co-owner and GM Philip Garvin called the LDX 86 Universe "a major breakthrough" for 4K sports broadcast.