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SGI Introduces HD I/O Board for Production and Broadcast Markets - 04/1999

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New Board for Onyx2 and Origin Platforms Reduces Costs and Production Time for HDTV Content

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA (April 16, 1999) -- SGI (NYSE: SGI) today introduced the HD I/O board for the Silicon Graphics® Onyx2TM workstation for visual supercomputing and SGITM OriginTM 2000 server. The HD I/O board enables these systems to generate and accept real-time, uncompressed HDTV content in 1080i and 720P formats, dramatically reducing costs and production time.

Industry Leaders Endorse the SGI HD I/O Board

Discreet, a division of Autodesk and a long-time solutions provider on SGITM platforms, is among the early adopters of the HD I/O board. "Building upon the support of HDTV production in our inferno visual effects and compositing and fire on-line editing products, integrating with the HD I/O board from SGI will provide a major added value to the productivity and workflow of those products," said Mahmoud Al-Daccak, vice president of product development at Discreet. "By enabling real-time HD input/output, our joint customers will enjoy the flexibility to produce HDTV content far more efficiently, allowing them to focus on their task of producing dazzling content."

Crawford Communications, an Atlanta-based electronic media communications company, was one of the first sites to use the Discreet/SGI HD I/O board solution. "This is exactly what Crawford and our clients have been waiting for," stated Tom Fulks, senior effects editor at Crawford. "Now that this solution is available, HDTV production will take a lot less time!"

Another exciting introduction to the HDTV arena, Tempest HD from Jaleo, has already integrated the SGI HD I/O board for the first native YUV real-time editing and compositing solution. "Tempest HD is the first product to offer RCAT (Real-time Color Adjustment Technology) for real-time primary and secondary color modification in native HDTV format," said Lance Kelson, executive vice president of technology at Jaleo North America.

The Tape House in New York has received national critical acclaim as a leader in HDTV post-production, and subsequently was one of Jaleo North America's first Tempest-HD customers. "Tempest-HD was the natural choice for our HD clients and the demanding editorial and commercial HD work that we complete every week," said Marc Polyocan, CEO of The Tape House. "The industry has been waiting for a product like Tempest-HD that can take real advantage of the power of SGI's Onyx2 computer and HD I/O board and bring HDTV post production to reality."

"This option is great for Piranha. It means our customers can enjoy all the power and functionality of Piranha, while working in real time with HDTV content," said Scott Michelson, president of Interactive Effects. "The HD bottleneck no longer exists with the advent of the SGI HD I/O board. PiranhaHD now combines real-time, integrated paint, compositing and editing for HDTV production and runs on Onyx2 workstations."

"We have been working with a broad range of partners and customers from design through development of this product to ensure that it delivers full HD performance," said David Orton, senior vice president and general manager, Visual Computing Business Unit, SGI. "With the release of the SGI HD I/O board, our partners are already recognizing the potential reduced cost and production time benefits of an all-in-one HD solution."


Philips Digital Video Systems - Film Imaging L.O.B., a provider of real-time connectivity with the Spirit DataCine film scanner, will be demonstrating HD solutions at NAB. The Philips display will feature the SGI HD I/O board integrated with the Phantom Transfer EngineTM software, showcasing the real-time transfer of high-definition content to disk. In addition, Discreet and other beta solutions partners will be demonstrating post-production and broadcast graphics solutions using the HD I/O board.

Peak Systems, based in Germany, is showcasing Everest running on an Onyx2 system using the HD I/O board. Everest provides template-based broadcast graphics production for fast-breaking news such as sporting events and election coverage. Mathematical Technologies Inc. (MTI) and Preferred Video Products will be demonstrating the IntelliDeck, a fully integrated, resolution-independent HD solution running on the Onyx2 workstation that includes Hi-Def and Standard-Def video disk recording, image processing, standards conversion and aspect ratio format conversion. IntelliDeck combines essential telecine suite functions within one system.

Support for Industry Standards

The SGI HD I/O board supports several key ATSC HDTV formats:

  • 1920x1080 interlaced @ 59.94Hz
  • 1280x720 progressive @ 59.94Hz

The board also supports genlock. Other ATSC formats will be supported in staged software releases. The board has a parallel I/O connector. Special cabling is provided to connect to external serial/parallel converters such as YEM's PSP-292M.

Pricing and Availability

The HD I/O board with a parallel digital interface for the Silicon Graphics Onyx2 workstation and Origin 2000 server will ship in June 1999 and is priced at $18,000 (U.S. List).

Future Enhancements

Due to the great demand for early shipment of the board, SGI has focused on a short list of key formats and platforms to deliver improved time-to-market for HDTV applications. Over time, SGI will provide software upgrades which will enable the existing HD I/O hardware to support additional HDTV formats and functions. Current Silicon Graphics Onyx2 and SGI Origin customers wishing to support both standard-definition and high-definition formats in one system will need to use a combination of DIVO (SD) and HD I/O (HD) products.

SGI is a market leader in technical computing, offering the world's most powerful servers, supercomputers and visual workstations. SGI uniquely provides a broad range of high-performance computing and advanced graphics solutions that enable customers to understand and conquer their toughest computing problems. Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices worldwide, the company is located on the Web at

Silicon Graphics and Onyx are registered trademarks, and SGI, the SGI logo, Onyx2 and Origin are trademarks, of Silicon Graphics, Inc. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.