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CBS Converts all 17 O&O Stations to Sony's XDCAM HD Format

At the Sony pre-NAB press conference yesterday, Bob Seidel, CBS's vice president of engineering and advanced technology announced that the network would convert all 17 O&O stations to Sony's XDCAM HD format, upgrading from its current XDCAM format. WBZ in Boston and WBBM in Chicago will be the first stations to receive XDCAM HD gear come March.

Stations that have a complete HD infrastructure will begin HD ENG acquisition. Stations not ready for HD, such as Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, where new facilities are being constructed, will continue to shoot in SD. Currently, seven stations are HD-capable with a dual mode SD/HD infrastructure.

As with other HD productions from CBS, HD news will be center-punched for standard definition broadcast. The timeframe for completion of the transition is 18 months.

Also at the Sony pre-NAB press conference, Sony announced a second XDCAM HD camcorder, the PDW-F350 which will provide undercrank and overcrank variable frame rate from 4 to 60 frames per second in 1 frame increments, with no post processing required for viewing. Also announced was an XDCAM SD field recorder and cart systems with 80 disks with future expansion up to 640 disks.

Pricing for the XDCAM HD camcorders and decks was also announced:

--F330 1/2" 3-CCD camcorder will be $16,800 without lens
--F350 1/2" 3-CCD variable frame rate camcorder will be $25,800 without lens
--F30 playback only deck will be $9,500
--F70 record/playback deck will be $15,990
--LO-32BMT, a 2/3 inch to 1/2 inch lens adapter, currently retails
in the $600-700 range

The Sony XDCAM HD will be available in March.