Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Sony touts professional optical media’s cost of ownership

Sony Electronics held a series of one-on-one meetings in New York with trade journalists last week to outline the differences in cost of media and cost of ownership, two important criteria when considering a new digital production format.

Production units of the Optical Media format equipment, to be shown at IBC2003 this fall, include the PDW-530/530p an PDW-510/510p camcorders, PDW-V1 laptop edit system, PDW-1500 compact source deck and PDW-3000 studio deck, Xpri mobile edit/news system, and the Xpri nonlinear edit workstation.

While the message was compelling, the intent was to counter Panasonic’s compact flash memory card technology that Panasonic showed as a prototype at the NAB2003 convention in April.

According to Sony data, a 1 SD card holds about .128 GB and costs nearly $62--or about $484.38 per 1 GB of data--while Sony’s Professional optical format discs each hold 23.3 GB of data and cost about $30 each; or $1.29 per 1GB. To make the Panasonic SD RAM camera system practical for ENG use, an operator would need about four cards, for a cost of almost $2,000, according to Sony.

Sony executives also said that the stated 1,000 erase/write/read cycles for each disc was “very conservative” and the disk might be able to record many more times, and that it could sustain over 1 million read-only operations.

The overall development of the Sony professional Optical Media format was to move the production process into the field, company officials said, where news segments are shot and edited on a laptop, then sent via an IT network back top the station for airing live or inserted into a nightly newscast.

The Sony professional optical media format is also the first to give users the choice to record in DV or MPEG compression, according to the company. Apple Computer, Avid Technology, Pinnacle Systems, Quantel and Thomson have all expressed interest in supporting Sony’s new disc format, via the Material eXchange Format (MXF).

The record time for each Sony Optical Media disc is 45, 60 and 75 minutes, recording at 50, 40 and 30 Mbps, respectively. At 25 Mbps, an operator can record approximately 90 minutes on a single disc.

Transfer rate off the disc can be accomplished at 72 Mbps with one head (the camcorder compact deck and laptop edit system) and 144 Mbps with two heads (studio disc player and Xpri nonlinear edit system). The discs are said to have an archival life of over 30 years in room temperature.

Production units of the Optical Media format equipment—which includes the PDW-530/530p and PDW-510/510p camcorders, PDW-V1 laptop edit system, PDW-1500 compact source deck and PDW-3000 studio deck, Xpri mobile edit/news system, and the XPRI nonlinear edit workstation—will be available at the IBC2003 convention in Amsterdam in September.

For more information visit www.sony.com/news.

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