Panasonic previewed their NAB announcements today with new additions to their DVCPRO HD range along with foreshadowing a range of price cuts on existing SD equipment, including the popular SDX900. Along with those announcements, was a statement by Robert Harris, Panasonic VP of marketing and product development, explaining that the price reductions will reposition DVCPRO 50 products at close to what he called DVCAM-level. Other than suggesting prices on the SDX900 will drop no other details of the price reductions were given.
Among the new equipment to be revealed at NAB are the AJ-HPC2000 P2 HD camcorder, the AJ-HPS1500 solid state recorder/ player, the AJ-HPM100 mobile recorder/player, and the AJ-PCD20 internal/external drive designed for high-speed file transfer of DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO50 DVCPRO video into nonlinear editing systems and servers.
AJ-HPC2000 shoulder-mount P2 HD camcorder
The AJ-HPC2000 features three HD resolution 2/3 CCDs and 14-bit A/D processing offering high dynamic range and low light recording in 720p, 1080i HD or 480i formats. The 2/3 CCD imager allows the use of widely-available professional quality lenses and accessories. The camcorder offers high sensitivity, F10 at 2000 lux, and can capture images at a minimum illumination of 0.032 lux (at +62dB) addressing the most challenging requirements of broadcasters. The camcorder has slots for five P2 cards and is equipped for maximum connectivity including HD-SDI, genlock, time code, composite video, IEEE1394 (AVC), and USB 2.0. Four channels of uncompressed audio are supported with XLRs, stereo front mic, and Unislot wireless mic connections. An SD card slot is provided for setting exchange.
Panasonic will be showing a working model at NAB but the unit will not ship until November. Price was not announced but indications were given that it was expected to be "much cheaper" than a Sony HDCAM and probably a little more than the $26,000 XDCAM HD.
AJ-HPM100 Field Recorder
The AJ-HPM100 is fully equipped for field work with a 9 widescreen LCD monitor, a six-slot P2 drive, an SD card slot, a jog/shuttle dial, function buttons, stereo speakers and AC/DC operation. HD and SD switchable the field recorder records in DVCPRO HD, DVCPRO50, DVCPRO and can play back with upconverting and downconverting between standard and high definition formats.
The AJ-HPM100 has IEEE 1394 and USB 2.0 interfaces, RS-422 for remote control, a range of input and outputs – including switchable HD/SD SDIs, analog composite, analog HD component, analog 4-channel audio and Timecode. It is designed for field applications like searching for clips to generate a ‘selects list’, developing a play list, copying P2 content, backup recording for live broadcasts, and playback for transmission via satellite back to a broadcast facility. No price was given.
AJ-HPS1500 DVCPRO HD Recorder
The AJ-HPS1500 is a high-performance P2 DVCPRO HD solid-state memory studio recorder that also carries five P2 card slots. In addition, the recorder offers two slots for adding removable hard disk drives. The removable drives are useful as an economical video back-up or archive; for real-time data transfer; for play-list creation; and for a variety of edit functions.
Panasonic’s AJ-HPC2000 shoulder-mount P2 HD camcorder.
The AJ-HPS1500 P2 HD studio recorder is being described as the P2 cards entrée to the IT-style network it has five P2 slots, two removable hard-disk slots, and a variety of I/O options (including HD-SDI, gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 and FireWire). And the AJ-HPM100, nicknamed the P2 Mobile, is a field recorder with six P2 slots and, again, a wide array of ins and outs, including HD/SD SDI, analog composite and analog HD component. Like the HPC2000, both will ship in November.
The AJ-HPS1500 has the capability of optional downconverting and upconverting between SD and HD recorded material. With connectivity using Gbit Ethernet, USB 2.0 ports, IEEE-1394 (AVC), and HD-SDI as well as SD-SDI input/outputs it is a versatile device to use as a ingest station at a broadcast of production facility.
Standard A/V outputs/inputs on the AJ-HPS1500 include: analog component, composite and reference video, digital audio (AES/EBU Ch1 Ch8), analog audio (XLR, Ch1 Ch2), monitor out, and time code in/out. Remote control can be accomplished via RS-422A, RS-232C and GPI. When available the AJ-HPS1500 is expected to sell for US$19,950.
Although the price of 8 GB P2 cards recently dropped to US$1400 Panasonic gave no indications of further price drops or the availability of 16 GB cards – I guess they want something to be a surprise at NAB!
Also new is the AG-DVC20 a shoulder-mounted, three-chip addition to the MiniDV line-up, shipping in June for US$1850 and the BT-LH2600 – a 26-inch LCD monitor for US$4950 that will be used as part of Panasonic’s "CRT-free" NAB booth.