New: Athena from Convergent Design

Announcing the Convergent Design Athena 4K/Multi-Stream Player/Recorder Encoder/Decoder, a field-use or rack-mount complete solution, debuting as a “product preview” at NAB 2014.

Athena is the first standalone, tapeless player/recorder deck capable of 4K/UHD 60p, 2K/HD 60p, and Multi-Stream (even in 4K). An industry first is the ability to record/play four HD video streams along with 64 channels of MADI audio. It can be used as a production facility tape deck replacement; a driver for multi-screen video walls; the heart of an interactive multi-panel display for education, entertainment or point-of-sale, a concert or live event multi-camera recorder, and even a system to stream footage live from set back to post or load material remotely.

Athena’s functions are hardware-based for high efficiency and reliability; it’s not a “PC in a box”. The easy to use playback system allows one to load Apple ProRes, Avid DNxHD or DPX files straight from a computer onto an SSD and play on Athena, or load them directly onto an SSD mounted in Athena via Gigabit Ethernet (Gig-E). Recording is equally versatile and straightforward. The efficient design fits in a 1U, Half-Rack space; has a front panel featuring an LCD display for status info and confidence monitoring, a 2.5” SSD slot (up to 2GB current spec) and deck controls; and can operate 24/7 continuously with a low power draw. The auto-start/auto-recovery mode means Athena can start up in seconds and begin or resume operations should power be interrupted.

There are many ways in which the powerful and versatile Athena can be utilized. Just scratching the surface are these examples:

Studio Deck

Record & Playback Master Deck for any resolution and frame rate format
Create all deliverables from a single piece of hardware
Live Multi-Camera capture with live Gig-E streaming to post

Field Production

Four camera, 64-track audio master recorder for events, concerts
Stream video & audio content to post or broadcast via Gig-E
Gang multiple Athenas for large scale events

Digital Cinema

Feed projectors & monitors of any resolution & frame rate
4K up to 60p
2x 4K/30p or 2x 2K/60p for 3D stereo projection
(Tentative Spec) Play DCP formats in 4K or 2K (JPEG2000)
Load content locally onto SSD for screening room facility
Load content via Gig-E for mass distribution with encryption protection

Digital Signage

Feed monitor/projector 4K up to 60p
Feed 2x 4K/30p streams simultaneously
Feed 4x 2K/60p streams simultaneously for video walls
Gang multiple Athenas for large video wall installations
Stream all outputs simultaneously for video walls
Stream all outputs independently with local start/stop control for multiple interactive displays

Special Venue

Trade Show: multiple interactive displays with live feedback via Gig-E
Concert: large video walls which break into individual screens of content
Theme Park: Rides or interactive information signage in wait lines
Installation: Museum, Planetarium, Education/Information Center
Point-of-Sale Kiosks: Interactive video wall multi-panel solution
Producers & DPs: Portable player of any resolution & frame rate for client presentations

Current Preproduction Specs

Athena Connectivity:

Four 6G-SDI outputs, Four 6G-SDI inputs
Two Display Port 1.2a outputs (4K/60p) with DP/HDMI dual mode
Two HDMI 2.0 outputs (4K/60p) via DPàHDMI cable
Four channels of AES audio out via two HD-BNCs
64 channels of MADI audio I/O via two HD-BNCs
64 channels of Dante audio I/O via Gig-E
16 channel SDI embedded audio I/O
Balanced Professional Stereo analog audio out
Tri-Level Sync, LTC Time Code, GPIO, Deck Remote Control
Gig-E for streaming files to Ethernet/Internet

Athena Record/Playback Capability:

One stream of 4K/QHD up to 60p, two streams up to 30p
Two streams of 2K/HD 4:4:4 RGB 12-bit up to 60p, four streams up to 30p
Four streams of HD 4:2:2 up to 30p
Simultaneously stream online/offline video to post or Cloud via Gig-E
Record 4K/30p or four streams of HD/30p and simultaneously stream proxy versions via Gig-E

Athena is debuting as a “product preview” in Convergent Design’s booth at NAB 2014 (Central Hall booth C7113). Athena is scheduled to show as a production model at IBC 2014 with units shipping in Q4 2014.


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