New device may usher in more affordable HD acquisition options

As station managers and news directors grapple with how to acquire HD news footage affordably, a new component for use by camcorder manufacturers may hold the key
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Canon is using the new analog front end from Analog Devices in its HDV XL H1 camcorder.

For many in newsrooms around the country, the questions of affordability and performance remain unanswered when it comes to high definition field acquisition of news.

In fact, HD ENG currently is so rare that when a station takes a significant step forward, such as adding an HD-equipped helicopter, it’s big news. (See “WNYW adds HD news gathering from overhead” below.)

A recent advancement from Analog Devices in Norwood, MA, promises to do its part in making suitable HD acquisition performance more affordable for newsgathering. The company has released a new analog front end device offering 30 percent improvement in signal conversion performance, 65 mega samples per second (MSPS) and low power consumption for use in HD CCD and CMOS camcorders.

According to Analog Devices, these performance characteristics are needed to capture HD content and enable advanced camcorder capabilities. Canon, for example, has signed on to use the new AD9970 analog front end in its HDV XL H1 camcorder.

Sampling CCD or CMOS imager signals at a rate exceeding 50MSPS has required camera manufacturers to adopt designs that suffer from power dissipation and size limitations. According to Analog Devices, the AD9970 AFE addresses these issues with its performance, power requirements and size. Camcorders that use this technology can therefore offer the same resolution and HD quality at more affordable price points, the company said.

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