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Exclusive: Raycom Standardizes on JVC’s New IP-Enabled ProHD Camcorders

WAYNE, N.J. – Raycom Media has purchased more than 130 GY-HM650 ProHD mobile news cameras, the vendor said. The station group will be standardizing its newsgathering operations on the camcorders, which now feature live streaming capability. That very feature was the impetus for Raycom’s decision, according to Dave Folsom, vice president and chief technical officer for Raycom Media, who sees it as an additional ENG asset rather than a replacement for news vans.

“We see both this exciting new camera technology as well as the use of cellular-enabled backpacks--we are also investing in these as well--as a supplment and not a replacement to tradiitional remote microwave capability,” he said. “In short, as we expand our news presence throughout the day and feed more screens--mobile and Internet--we need more compelling and fresh content. We see thee enabling technologies as a means to further that goal.”

JVC introduced the GY-HM650 at last year’s NAB Show, and recently upgraded it with the ability to stream live video in the background while simultaneously recording video to multiple file formats, with the use of a USB-docked Verizon 4G LTE modem. As introduced last year, the GY-HM650 had dual codecs, as well as built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and FTP transfer capability, at a list price of $5,695.

Raycom owns or provides services for 52 stations in 36 markets in 18 states, reaching more than 12 percent of U.S. TV households. Of those, 31 stations produce local news. Those stations started taking delivery of the updated GY-HM650s this month. JVC said 100 of its cameras will be used to replace aged-out ENG models, while another 30 will be increasing the arsenals among select stations to expand local news coverage, Folsom said.

“We have a lot of aging cameras at many of our stations,” he said. “We intend to buy many more cameras going forward, because we have to replace as well as greatly expand our fleet over the next few years. The GY-HM650 is being used to enhance that older fleet.”

Many of the older models are larger, heavier shoulder-mount models that use proprietary recording media, JVC said. The GY-HM650s record on SD cards, which Folsom noted were “more ubiquitous… and cheaper than proprietary systems.”

This ENG purchase extends JVC’s relationship with Raycom, which converted its studios to HD on JVC ProHD cameras in 2007-08. The buy also marks the second big sale of the GY-HM650s for JVC in as many weeks. The BBC earlier this month agreed to take delivery of more than 500 of the cameras over the course of 2013. (See “BBC is Buying 500 JVC ProHD Camcorders.”)

Larry Librach, JVC’s vice president of broadcast and public sector, said the company was “delighted” with Raycom’s decision to standardize its ENG operations on the GY-HM650.

“We look forward to working with them closely as they implement JVC’s FTP and live video transfer capabilities into their workflow,” he said.

The GY-HM650 features three, 12-bit CMOS sensors and a built-in Fujinon wide-angle 23x zoom, auto-focus lens with an optical image stabilizer and manual controls. Shooters can stream live HD video while recording using the integrated Verizon 4G LTE modem, and transfer recorded clips to a remote server via built-in FTP. The GY-HM650 records HD or SD footage in native XDCAM EX (.MP4), Final Cut Pro (.MOV), .MXF, and AVCHD—to non-proprietary SDHC or SDXC media cards.

JVC will demonstrate the GY-HM650’s live transmission capabilities at the 2013 NAB Show (Booth No. C4314), April 8-11 in Las Vegas.