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CBS to accept Sony’s HDCAM SR for program delivery

Sony and the CBS Television Network announced that for the 2004-2005 television season CBS will accept HD content on the Sony HDCAM SR 4:4:4 signal processing format.

CBS is the first of the major commercial broadcast networks to adopt the Sony HDCAM SR tape format for both acquisition and delivery of HD content. A series of HDCAM SR machines have been installed at the CBS production center at Television City in Hollywood for HD program preparation.

CBS broadcasts, on average, 25 hours per week of HD programming. This year, CBS Sports will broadcast 39 weekends of sports programming in the 1080i HD format.

Robert Seidel, CBS vice president of engineering and advanced technology, said the Sony HDCAM SR format has a number of clear advantages, including its 593 Mb/s data rate, 12 channels of digital audio, and its ability to handle pre-read and three lines of metadata data per field.

“The metadata capability is crucial to providing such services as captioning for the hearing impaired, V-chip data, audio metadata, and the broadcast flag for protecting digital broadcast content from unauthorized Internet redistribution,” Seidel said.

Sony’s HDCAM-SR format has a capacity several times greater than conventional tape formats, and it has been conceived from the very beginning as a format suitable for pristine-quality digital field acquisition.

The SRW-5000 HD VTR, used to record and playback HDCAM SR tapes, is capable of recording a range of HD frame/line rates. By incorporating high-density recording technology, and the ISO-recognized MPEG-4 Studio Profile compression algorithm, the SRW-5000 records 440 Mb/s video payload, at a 10-bit depth, at a mild 2.7:1 compression ratio for 4:2:2 signals. It can also record 12 channels of audio at 24-bit per sample resolution, and it can playback HDCAM tapes.

The optional HKSR-5001 Format Converter Board allows a pulldown sequence to be inserted into a 23.98 or 24 fps tape output, and conversion of a 1080i tape to 720P, and vice versa. Through the use of an HKSR-5002 decoder board, the SRW-5000 can play back Digital Betacam tapes, and provide an upconverted HD output. The optional HKSR-5003 interface board allows it to record a 4:4:4 RGB signal, via dual link HD SDI.

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