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Chirs Giard operates one of the new Cox Communications public access channel Hitachi studio cameras. MANCHESTER, CONN.—Public access television is a high priority at Cox Communications. In Connecticut, we allow residents in our three franchise areas— Manchester, Cheshire, and Enfield—to use our television facilities free-of-charge. After taking our television production-training course, they can realize their creative dreams and produce a show or series on our public access channel, PATV-15.

All three of our studios have been equipped with Hitachi Z-3000 SD cameras for some time, and we recently upgraded the Manchester facility with three Hitachi Z-HD5000 HDTV cameras. In keeping with our mission to provide our local communities with the finest broadcast equipment and production experience, we felt that we needed to transition to high definition.

Purchasing three broadcast- quality HD cameras at one time was a major expenditure for us—one that consumed much of our annual equipment budget. We always consider such large purchases carefully, as we hope to keep the equipment in service for at least 10 years or more. We chose Hitachi for several reasons, including the outstanding service we’ve received throughout the years from other Hitachi equipment and also the company’s representatives, Sean Moran and Kenneth Cyr.

Budget constraints forced us to tackle the HD studio upgrade in three phases, with the first being procurement of the new cameras. The next objective will be to identify and purchase a high-definition production switcher, and other production gear. The third part will be full HD distribution of our programming.

As Hitachi Z-HD5000s are multistandard cameras with integrated format conversion, we can shoot in HD today and output downconverted SD video until we have a full HD workflow. We’re also planning to purchase Hitachi Z-HD5000’s to convert our Cheshire and Enfield studios to HD.

Our new Hitachi Z-HD5000s are outfitted with optical fiber camera adapters, seveninch HDTV LCD color viewfinders, Hitachi CU-HD500 camera control units, and Hitachi’s RU-1000-VR remote control panels— essential elements for remote camera set-up and operation.

User-friendliness was also a key concern of ours, as our public access shows rely on volunteer camera operators who are usually video novices. After they receive basic video training from our production technicians they’re able to truck these new pedestalbased HD cameras around the studio and pan, tilt, and zoom just like the pros.

While new high-definition lenses are still on our wish list, we found that the Hitachi Z-HD5000 cameras still produce superior image quality and meet our technical specs even with SD lenses. This excellent picture quality motivates and inspires people to use our facilities, and also raises the bar on the credibility, impact, and value of the shows that we produce and air.

Chris Giard is responsible for technical oversight and maintenance of the Manchester, Cheshire, and Enfield, Conn. public access studios of Cox channel PATV-15. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. at 516-921-7200 or