Europe's First HD Network Launches with Panasonic Gear

Europe's first HDTV Channel debuted on Jan. 1, 2004, broadcasting via satellite from the Astre uplink center in Luxembourg.

The 24-hour channel, which is also expected to be carried by cable networks is using nine Panasonic multi-standard HD D-5 VTRs as its main recording and production machines, two Panasonic Varicam cameras and eight AJ-HD1700 DVCPRO VTRs. Euro1080 officials cited the picture quality of the HD D-5 VTRs as especially suitable for large screen cinema playback, a targeted venue for Euro1080 special events.

"Euro1080 is providing the launchpad for Europe's move to HD and electronic cinema, said Gabriel Fehervari, CEO of Euro1080. "Euro1080 is more than just a TV station but is providing Europe with the capability for rights owners to sell special HD broadcasts for major events, for companies to use this for sponsorship and for briefings and conferences. Panasonic's support an equipment is playing a key part in Europe's move to HD."

The company has also purchased nearly $6 million in digital production equipment from Thomson Grass Valley.