Mac-based broadcasting industry moves to Windows NT

Many of the broadcasting industry's movers and shakers are porting their software from the Macintosh to the Windows NT platform.

Although the broadcasting industry has traditionally been an Apple stronghold, many of this arena's movers and shakers are porting their software to the Windows NT platform. At the International Broadcast Conference (IBC) in Amsterdam last week, companies such as Avid Technologies, Macromedia, Media 100, SoftImage, DVision and even Apple itself announced solutions for the Windows NT platform.

Cost-effectiveness and processing power were the reasons most commonly sited for this sea change in the broadcasting industry. "There is a great demand from users to move to the PC platform these days," says Patrick Raftner, spokesman for Media 100. "Up until now Windows was not a robust enough platform to run video editing applications."

Avid Technologies was an Apple stalwart. Since 1985 the company built its digital editing business on the Macintosh platform, but even it has defected and brought out its MCXpress video editing software on Windows NT. The software and video card cost in the region of US$15,000 -- some US$5000 cheaper than the Macintosh counterpart. MCXpress will enable uses to edit fully broadcast quality video on a Windows NT machine.

"Our Windows NT product is finding a new market in the content and multimedia production business," says William Miller, head of Avid. "Our core product the Avid Media Composer was sold to the broadcast and video post production business."

But not everybody is convinced that Windows NT is the correct solution. Quantel, a UK-based digital video editing, graphics and special effects systems vendor, is sceptical about using Windows NT for TV and post-production applications. "Putting Quantel on Windows NT would be like giving a formula one racing driver a Renault 5," says Jeff Meadows, managing director of Quantel, adding that his company's graphics accelerator cards have the equivalent processing power of 95 PCs.

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