Sony unveils line of XDCAM HD products

CBS O&O’s WBZ, in Boston, and WBBM, in Chicago, will be the first stations to make the switch to Sony’s HD XDCAM gear.

CBS News has begun a migration to high-definition news acquisition. In March, the network’s owned-and-operated stations at WBZ-TV, in Boston, and WBBM-TV, in Chicago, will be the first to use Sony’s XDCAM HD Professional Disc system for its local programming. The other 15 CBS stations will begin converting to XDCAM HD throughout 2006 and 2007.

HD news is a hot topic on the minds of many in the industry, and it’s critical to have the right technology in place when it’s time to make the switch, said Bob Ross, senior vice president of East Coast Operations at CBS Television.

CBS network news crews have used Sony XDCAM SD camcorders for more than a year. As those units are replaced, the network will upgrade to XDCAM HD.

XDCAM HD and SD camcorders use the same optical media for recording, meaning there is no cost premium for acquiring HD news content. Because of this, camera operators will begin shooting in HD even though the station infrastructures may not yet support broadcasting in HD, said Bob Seidel, vice president of advanced technology.

In October 2005, CBS News began acquiring and accepting content using the Sony optical system, resulting in a significantly streamlined news operation and production workflow that allowed footage to be shot, edited and sent to air in a faster and more efficient manner.

According to Ross, many of these same operational improvements and efficiencies are also expected to be realized once CBS stations adopt the XDCAM HD technology.

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