Skip to main content

Panasonic Expands the P2 Line

by Deborah D. McAdams~ April 24, 2006


Panasonic unveiled several new additions to its P2 line during its traditional Sunday NAB press briefing, where John Baisley reaffirmed the company's commitment to solid-state video capture.

"We did not merely want to introduce an interim solution," said Baisley, president of Panasonic Broadcast. Panasonic was looking to marry IT and acquisition when it rolled out the P2 system, which records to memory cards.

"Many consider P2's greatest advantage its instant random access," Baisley said. "Unlike optical disc, one can do editing straight from a P2 card."

Media Price Declines

Initially P2 was heavily scrutinized for the cost of media. A couple of years ago, a 4 GB P2 card capable of recording about four minutes of HD footage cost about $1,700. The price is now around $500, Baisley said. Eight GB cards are available now, and 16 GB cards are on the way, he said. Thus far, 15,000 P2 units have been sold to 300 broadcasters around the world.

The new gear in the P2 line this year includes a codec, a compact HD camera, an HD monitor, a 2K processor, two recorders, an HD VTR, a switcher, a portable hard drive and a camcorder with a twist - A/V input.

The AJ-HPC2000 is a 2/3-inch P2 HD camcorder that records in 720p, 1080i, 480i or 576i and features slots for hot-swappable P2 cards for continuous recording, and of all things, an A/V input, making it an effective link for pool feeds. It is scheduled to debut in January 2007.

The other camcorder debutante is the AJ-HDX900, a FireWire-equipped DVCPRO HD 100 Mbps camcorder that records in any of 11 formats, coming to market in July.

Panasonic billed the 2/3-inch 3-CCD variable frame-rate AK-HC1500G as the first compact, 1080i/720 switchable HD camera.

The AK-HD1400 is a new FireWire-equipped VTR for transferring native DVCPRO HD material onto NLE systems, which will be available in July.

Panasonic 1700 monitors inspired the new BT-LH2600W HD 26-inch production monitor with "true" 16:9 display, low delay, and integrated HD-SDI/SDI I/Os with embedded audio, coming out in June.

The AJ-HDP2000 film-to-data processor accepts 2K full-frame film, 2K or HD images and processes them for recording onto an AJ-HD3700. The device is aimed at the 35 mm digital intermediate market and is expected to come to market in the second quarter of next year.

The AV-HS3000 six-input, four-output HD/SD live switcher, which will be available later this year, is geared toward church and corporate events, distance learning and other similar productions.

The AJ-HPM100 mobile P2 HD/SD switchable recorder features a nine-inch widescreen LCD monitor and six P2 card slots plus a ton of other features, available come November.

The AJ-HPS1500 P2 HD "station" recorder/player is designed to "bridge the standard and high-definition production environments," according to Panasonic. It is equipped with Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire and USB2.0 PC interfaces

The AJ-PCD20 five-slot P2 drive, is an upgrade to the PCED10. It installs into a standard 5.25-inch PC bay for high-speed transfer of DVCPRO variants onto NLE systems and servers. The drive will be available in July.

Dual-codec Feature

And finally, Panasonic will add dual-codec capability to its P2 HD products in the form of H.264-compliant AVC-Intra. The dual-codec feature will become available as an option in April 2007, said Robert Harris, Panasonic Broadcast vice president of marketing.

"The key benefit is DVCPRO quality at half the bandwidth ... without the compromises of long-GOP compression," he said.

Harris said Panasonic was working with Apple, Avid and others to integrate the advanced compression codec into the workflow chain.

© 2006 NAB