Sony Optical Disc System Endorsed by NBC, CNN

To get a sense of what the broadcast world could be like without tape-based systems, CNN will trial Sony's new optical disc system this fall with its ENG operations to
measure the "efficiency and economy gains promised by the new technology." NBC plans to use the system to cover the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece to create athlete profiles.

CNN, which has long used Sony professional video formats for ENG applications, sees MPEG-2 and successor formats from optical media as advantageous for ENG in field newsgathering and transmission, resulting in time-to-air and production quality improvements. The news channel will provide input to Sony on further development of the optical disc system, which integrates with existing tape-based products through DVCAM and MPEG IMX codecs.

Sony's optical disc video system has an up to 50-times transfer rate, so an hour of proxy content can be sent from the field to the studio in about a minute. The system also features dual recording methodology in which a lower resolution, but frame-accurate proxy version, is captured along with the high-resolution original. From the camcorder, or a battery- or AC-operated mobile deck, ENG and EFP teams can transfer the proxy information to laptop editors or back to the studio at up to 30 times faster-than-real-time.

Other NBC-Sony deals announced at NAB include an agreement that lasts through 2009 for Sony to provide studio cameras, production switchers, monitors, data recorders and integration services for NBC's stations and cable operations and a deal to provide Sony switchers, cameras and IT-enabled production equipment to outfit CNBC's new tapeless Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based 30,000 square-foot headquarters, opening in October.