Iomega makes video breakthrough

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Iomega, the California-based data storage specialist, won a key contract from Grass Valley to build its REV drive portable storage technology into the broadcast and professional video equipment maker’s next generation of products.

Grass Valley, which competes with Sony and Panasonic in the broadcast video equipment market, said its new Infinity series of camcorders, recording, and storage products will use Iomega’s REV technology as the recording medium.

The Grass Valley products are the first such products to use off-the-shelf Iomega REV removable disks as recording and playback media. REV Pro 35GB* disks will allow users to record more than two hours of SD (standard definition) or 45 minutes of HD (high definition) video with complete flexibility in the use of encoding and compression schemes.

The deal, announced at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam on Monday marks a potential breakthrough for Iomega.

The company, perhaps best known for its Zip drives and media, introduced its REV Pro technology, capable of storing up to 35Gb (Gigabytes) of data on a single disk smaller than a deck of playing cards, in April last year. A 35Gb disk can store more than two hours of standard or 45 minutes of high definition video.

Iomega developed the technology to replace traditional tape for data storage and recording. The company claims it combines portability and cost-effectiveness of tape-based technologies with the speed, flexibility and ease of use of non-linear hard drive technology.

Werner Heid, Iomega’s chief executive, said the Grass valley contract could be worth between $25m and $30m in annual revenues, and potentially much more if REV becomes established as an industry statndard. “Grass Valley’s new breakthrough products showcase the superior capabilities of REV technology for professional storage needs in this market,” he claimed.

Since the REV technology was launched, Iomega has sold over 125,000 REV drives and 600,000 REV disks.

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