Manufacturer unveils new shoulder-mount high-def camcorder, studio recorder/player, mobile recorder/player and storage unit.

Panasonic is trying to ease broadcasters’ inevitable move into high-definition (HD) news by expanding its line of HD news production gear.

At a New York press conference yesterday evening, the broadcast equipment manufacture unveiled a new DVCPRO HD shoulder-mount camcorder, studio recorder/player, mobile recorder/player and internal/external storage unit. The DVCPRO HD line also includes a hand-held multipurpose camcorder (AG-HVX200), which was introduced late last year.

The new DVCPRO HD products are based on Panasonic’s proprietary P2 recording system, using solid-state memory cards in place of tape. They handle multiple formats—720p, 1080i and 480i—and are backwards compatible with the DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV-based standard-definition (SD) lines.

To date, seven TV station groups have adopted the P2 DVCPRO SD gear: Cordillera, Cox, Entravision, Fisher, Media General, Nexstar and Raycom.

Panasonic also introduced a 26-inch version of its 17-inch flat panel LCD studio monitor.

Panasonic will showcase the products at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in April.


The HD camcorder (AJ-HPC2000) features three two-thirds-inch CCDs, five P2 card slots and 14-bit A/D processing. “It’s targeted at the news market,” said Joe Facchini, director-product marketing.

According to Panansonic, five 8 GB cards will store 40 minutes of HD video and the price of the cards is coming down. The price of each 8 GB card has fallen from $2,700 to $1,400; that of each 4 GB card, from $1,400 to $650, said Robert Harris, vice president of marketing. The trend should continue, he said. “The price goes down as the capacity goes up.”

Panasonic will show a working model of the camcorder at NAB and have units ready to ship by November. The company did not put a price on the camcorder, but Facchini said it will be “dramatically less” than others in its class.

Panasonic is marketing the studio recorder/player (AJ-HPS1500) as a “bridge” between HD and SD because it can upconvert SD video and downconvert HD video. The unit has five P2 card slots and two slots for removable hard disk drives, which enhances its use for video backup, archiving, real-time data transfer, play-list creation and editing.

The mobile recorder/player (AJ-HPM100) is fully equipped for field work with a nine-inch widescreen LCD monitor, six P2 card slots, an SD card slot, a jog/shuttle dial, function buttons, stereo speakers and AC/DC operation. The unit is SD/HD switchable. It’s able to record DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO.

As with the camcorder, Panasonic was not ready to price the recorder/players, but said they would be available in November.

The internal/external storage unit (AJ-PCD20), which can handle up to five P2 cards, is designed for high-speed transfer of DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO video into nonlinear editing systems and servers. Panasonic is promising the unit in July.

According to Panasonic, the new 27-inch LCD monitor features a one-piece design and is suitable for use in studios, edit rooms, newsrooms, NLE suits and master control. It has a 700-to-1 contrast ratio and is compatible with multiple HD/SD formats, including 1080/24PsF, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i. Panasonic says it faithfully reproduces up to 16.7 million colors. “At $4,950, it costs less than the competition,” Facchini said.

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