February 17, 2006


Panasonic VP Bob Harris says the company is number one in the sale of plasma displays, with the ability to produce nearly five million units annually and with plans to increase productivity to 11 million in 2007. At the recent CES, Panasonic introduced a 103-inch unit, which will be on display at NAB, along with 37-, 42-, 50- and 65-inch professional models.

Panasonic will also show its P2 line at NAB. The company introduced its first camera last year - the AG-HVX200 - and is now shipping product. The new multi-format P2 DVCPRO HD products that will be on display at NAB can record in 720p, 1080i or 480i formats. P2 DVCPRO HD products offer full bandwidth, contribution quality HD with independent intra-frame encoding, 4:2:2 color sampling, and less compression, making HD content easier and faster to edit and more able to stand up to image compositing versus long GOP MPEG-2 systems. In addition, they are backwards compatible with existing DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV-based facilities.

At this year's show, the company will introduce a full-sized, shoulder mount, P2-based HD camcorder that's designed for news acquisition. The AJ-HPC2000 will feature five P2 slots, three 2/3-inch CCDs and 14-bit A/D processing. The camcorder will offer high sensitivity, F10 at 2000 lux, and will be able to capture images at a minimum illumination of 0.032 lux (at +62dB). An SD card slot will also be included for recording and replicating setup information. Panasonic plans on delivering this unit in November.

The AJ-HPS1500 P2 HD studio recorder will debut at the show and will feature five P2 slots, along with two additional slots for removable drives (spec to be determined). The unit will feature a jog/shuttle wheel that emulates tape shuttling, along with a built-in 3.5-inch color LCD display. The AJ-HPS1500 is designed to serve as a bridge between high definition and standard definition, with the capability of optional downconverting and upconverting between SD and HD recorded material. The AJ-HPS1500 will incorporate G-bit Ethernet, USB 2.0 ports, IEEE-1394 (AVC), and HD-SDI, as well as SD-SDI input/outputs. It too will be available in November.

Designed for field work, the portable and compact AJ-HPM100 recorder/player incorporates a nine-inch widescreen LCD monitor, a six-slot P2 drive, an SD card slot, a jog/shuttle dial, function buttons, stereo speakers and AC/DC operation. The recorder is high definition/standard definition switchable and records in DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO50 and DVCPRO. The unit can play back with upconverting and downconverting between standard and high definition formats. With 8GB cards in the six P2 slots, the AJ-HPM100 can record for 192 minutes in DVCPRO, 96 minutes in DVCPRO50, and 48 minutes in 1080i and 720p.

Panasonic's AJ-PCD20 internal/external drive is designed for high-speed file transfer of DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO50 DVCPRO video into nonlinear editing systems and servers. A user can mount five 8GB P2 cards (containing up to 160 minutes of recordings in DVCPRO, 80 minutes in DVCPRO50 and 40 minutes in DVCPRO HD) at the same time and have access to the contents on all five cards for continuous editing of recorded clips in sequence.

As an internal drive, the AJ-PCD20 installs in a standard PC type 5.25-inch bay drive enclosure, and through its high-speed USB 2.0 or IEEE 1394b interfaces, connects to the host computer. For in-the-field use, the AJ-PCD20 serves as a standalone external drive and teams with a notebook PC or Mac PowerBook for editing and playback. The drive offers Windows 2000/XP and Mac OS X compatibility.

In related news, Panasonic recently announced significant price reductions on its 4GB and 8GB P2 cards.

PHOTO: Panasonic's new AJ-HPC2000 P2 camera.