By The Numbers

In part III of our State of the Industry series, we look at facilities' spending plans for camera technology. This information was obtained from readers
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In part III of our State of the Industry series, we look at facilities' spending plans for camera technology. This information was obtained from readers in April.

An interesting battle in camera technology appears to be building between the 4:3 and 16:9 camps. Even if HD production is developing slowly, facilities are increasingly wanting to protect their program investments with widescreen capability right now.

Even so, while few facilities are planning on HD camera purchases, those that are making the leap to HD are budgeting significant dollars toward that technology. In fact, HD camera budgets are two and a half times greater than for NLE technology. (See April, By The Numbers, page 32.)

An expanded By The Numbers special report on cameras is available on the Broadcast Engineering website. For additional charts and graphs concerning this survey, see www.broadcastengineering.com. Detailed comparisons of purchase plans by technology and budgets are displayed there.

ENG/EFP is the top camera purchase

Respondents said that portable cameras were their top acquisition technology priority. From 23 percent to 32 percent said they'd be buying new ENG/EFP cameras this year. Measured overall, almost 27 percent of readers said their facilities would buy this type of new camera. When measured against planned HD camera purchases, ENG/EFP camera purchases are twice as popular as HD cameras.

Studio cameras less popular than ENG cameras

Readers seem to be willing to stick with their current studio cameras. As few as 8 percent of respondents said they'd be buying studio cameras this year. The highest planned purchases come from TV stations, just over 13 percent. Overall, only 11 percent of facilities plan new studio camera purchases in 2001.

Portable camera budgets

While more facilities plan ENG/EFP camera purchases than any other category, the budgets for this technology are the smallest of the three types of camera purchases. Not surprisingly, TV stations plan to spend more for ENG/EFP cameras than other types of facilities. The median budget for portable cameras at TV stations is more than $133,600. Measured across all types of facilities, the budget is just over $104,000.

TV stations and cable lead HD purchases

Comparing technology and types of facilities, what are the planned camera purchases? Note that for the first time in Broadcast Engineering studies, more cable and telecommunication industries are buying portable cameras than are TV stations. The cause may lie in the combination of costs and the technological capabilities of today's cameras. We'll look deeper at this issue in future research projects.

Facilities prefer widescreen capability over HD by 2:1

Facilities are willing to protect their program generation investments with widescreen, non-HD camera purchases. One key advantage is the lower entry cost. Another may be that they are betting that viewers won't know the difference.

16:9 camera purchases are growing

Non-HD cameras seem to be high on readers' minds. Almost 20 percent said they'd be buying widescreen, non-HD cameras this year. Note the consistency in planned purchases by application. Also, simply put, twice as many readers are planning 16:9 non-HD camera purchases as HD cameras.

HD camera purchases

We'll get there…slowly. That's what the industry seems to be saying with respect to buying HD cameras. They are just not yet on the must-have list. Even so, TV stations lead the pack in planned HD camera purchases. There's every reason to expect the number of facilities moving to HD to increase, perhaps rapidly, as 2002 approaches.

HD budgets are large

Despite the size of actual planned purchasers, sizeable budgets are being planned for HD cameras. The chart below compares the budgets for HD cameras, studio cameras and portable cameras. Twice as much is being allocated at facilities planning HD camera purchases as the median budget for portable camera buys. The typical HD camera budget is almost $200,000 which, given the pressures of today's markets, represents a significant commitment to HD technology by BE readers.

TV stations and cable lead HD purchases

Comparing technology and types of facilities, what are the planned camera purchases? Note that for the first time in Broadcast Engineering studies, more cable and telecommunication industries are buying portable cameras than are TV stations. The cause may lie in the combination of costs and the technological capabilities of today's cameras. We'll look deeper at this issue in future research projects.

Facilities prefer widescreen capability over HD by 2:1

Facilities are willing to protect their program generation investments with widescreen, non-HD camera purchases. One key advantage is the lower entry cost. Another may be that they are betting that viewers won't know the difference.

February 2001, Part 1

April 2001, Part 2