At NAB, Panasonic announced what it called 'significant' sales growth for its DVCPRO P2 solid-state memory recording system over the past year, with worldwide adoption by more than 300 broadcasters and sales of more than 15,000 units. The company also unveiled the broader expansion of P2 into HD products with a new P2 HD line.
The new P2 HD family of products offer P2's solid-state memory recording without the moving parts of other tape, hard disk, and optical disc based systems, and by utilising a standard PCMCIA interface and computer file structure, P2 HD acquisition fits easily into any standard IT infrastructure. The products offer production quality, 100Mb/s DVCPRO HD with independent intra-frame encoding, 4:2:2 colour sampling, and less compression, which the company says makes HD content easier and faster to edit and more able to stand up to image compositing versus long GOP MPEG2 systems. In addition, they are backwards compatible with existing DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and DV-based facilities. The new, multi-format P2 HD products also record in 720p, 1080i or 480i, which addresses the requirements of diverse HD broadcast applications.
The new members of the P2 HD family include the 2/3" AJ-HPC2000 shoulder-mount camcorder, AJ-HPS1500 studio recorder, the AJ-HPM100 mobile recorder and the AJ-PCD20 drive. In addition, the AG-HVX200, a hand-held DVCPRO HD P2 camcorder, is currently available, and provides video professionals with a powerful and versatile yet highly affordable professional HD camcorder.
The AJ-HPC2000 is equipped with an HD progressive 2/3" 3-CCD system and 14-bit A/D processing and records in 720p, 1080i or 480i, offering exceptional dynamic range and low light recording. The 2/3" CCD imager allows the use of widely-available professional quality lenses and accessories. The AJ-HPC2000 features five P2 card slots and each P2 card is hot swappable for continuous recording. With five 8GB cards, the camcorder can record up to 40 minutes of full HD quality video and significantly more in SD modes. Other recording features include loop record and pre-record (up to seven seconds in DVCPRO HD). An additional card slot is provided for optional accessories such as a Proxy Video Encoder. An SD card slot is also included for recording and replicating set-up information useful in multi-camera productions.
The camcorder offers immediate playback from the thumbnail clips displayed on the built-in colour LCD monitor, with the option of adding a shot marker to each clip. Extensive signal connectivity and control capability comes standard with the camera, including IEEE 1394 (AVC), and USB 2.0 interfaces, HD/SD-SDI, genlock, time code and composite video. Four channels of uncompressed audio are supported with XLRs, stereo front mic, and Unislot wireless mic connections. The AJ-HPC2000 will be available first quarter 2007 at a suggested list price of $27,000.
Panasonic also announced at NAB that Matrox and Bit Central are the newest companies to join the P2 Partners Program, which strives to assure the seamless integration of P2 with the industry's leading products and systems. Finally from the company, it also said it will offer dual codec capability, including an optional AVC-Intra (H.264 compliant) codec in addition to its widely supported DVCPRO HD codec. The AVC-Intra (H.264 compliant) codec offers significantly better compression efficiency than older MPEG2 codecs and can provide high quality for news at half the bandwidth compared to DVCPRO HD. This bandwidth saving, without the compromises of long GOP compression, will offer advantages in storage and distribution as well as twice the recording time on a P2 card. The optional AVC-Intra (H.264 compliant) support for the new P2 HD products will be available in April 2007.