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Sony unveils new technologies and initiatives to drive HD adoption

Sony reinforced its commitment to drive the high-definition (HD) wave in the region by showcasing its suite of products and solutions tailored to address HD content from broadcast studios to the home at BroadcastAsia. The company's focus at the show was the theme 'High-Definition: The evolution continues', under which it showed an enhanced HD line-up from acquisition through to display.

"Sony has been at the heart of the development and delivery of HD for more than 25 years. We are intent on pushing the boundaries of technology continuously, innovating in response to the changing needs of our customers," said Kozo Fujita, Head of Broadcast and Content Creation Solutions Asia Pacific and Director, Business and Professional Products Asia Pacific Company. "Sony has always been an active player in the broadcast and production industry. We hope to promote engineering excellence and we believe in training talents."

The Sony display at BroadcastAsia was the largest on the show floor. It featured different zones to cover live production solutions, tapeless workflow innovations and professional display and audio line-up illustrating the full breadth of Sony's end-to-end products and services. Broadcast Asia 2008 marked the South East Asia debut of new products from the solid-state entry-level XDCAM EX camcorders and deck, the new HKSR-5804 file transfer option board designed to accompany the SRW-5800 deck and the CineAlta digital cinematography line of movie cameras.

The workflow demonstration section, one of the key areas in the BroadcastAsia display, was dedicated to showing how the whole infrastructure of the XDCAM category is designed to be integrated to different NLE environments in a seamless manner.

As XDCAM continues to drive the broadcast news agenda, Sony's networked production system, SONAPS, is also growing in parallel. SONAPS is a complete end-to-end environment that embraces every phase of the production process to bring them together into a single, seamless workflow. Sony also featured solutions that expand the line-up and ensure XDCAM is employed to its full potential. With the new workgroup production server, HDXchange, XDCAM standard definition and high-definition material can be stored centrally and accessed by a whole range of users—from the production staff to the craft editor. The XDCAM Cart Machine automates the handling of XDCAM media.

The XDCAM HD Professional Disc system now includes the XDCAM HD422 system which adds the benefits of 50 Mbps 4:2:2 optical disc recording to a high-definition optical disc workflow. Consisting of the PDW-700 camcorder and PDW-HD1500 recording deck, the system allows production houses to have greater flexibility with its fast file-based operations and superb picture quality.

Shown for the first time in Asia, Sony has expanded the XDCAM EX range in the form of the PMW-EX3 camcorder by allowing the user to make lens choices depending on the nature of their project, through its interchangeable lens system.

Visitors were able to see a range of different setups as well as how Sony's alliances with third party software manufacturers like Apple, Avid, Adobe, Thomson GV and Sony's own Vegas Pro will let them integrate traditional broadcasting equipment with new digital workflow technology.

At the high-end of Sony's CineAlta range, the recently announced F35 camera system was shown for the first time in Singapore. Featuring a 35mm CCD Image Sensor, 10-bit 4:4:4 recording and variable frame rates, the F35 complements the current F23 model by offering a depth-of-field equal to that of a film camera. This allows production crews to use the vast majority of existing 35mm picture camera optics, including specialty lenses such as fish eyes, swing shifts and baby periscopes.

Also exhibiting for the first time in Asia, Sony demonstrated the newly added file transfer capabilities to its SRW-5800 deck, and showcases an affordable companion player deck, model SRW-5100, to the product line.

Other new Sony products at BroadcastAsia 2008 included a software upgrade (version 7.20) for the MVS-8000G production switcher, the award winning BVM-L230 23-inch (viewable area, measured diagonally) model is now in use worldwide by broadcasters, production companies, post-production houses, rental companies and OB van companies.

To complement Sony's newest HDV camcorders, the HVR-1500A videotape recorder now includes HD-SDI input capabilities, broadening the deck's potential applications to a wider range of production environments. In addition, the enhanced HVR-M15AN/M15AP and HVR-M25AN/M25P models now support native progressive recording.

Sony brings OLED display technology to professional HD cameras in the form of the 11-inch (viewable area, measured diagonally) HDVF-EL100 for the HDC cameras. The new viewfinder delivers precise focusing, high contrast and brightness, wide viewing angles as well as a large colour gamut, to meet industry needs.

"From initial systems design, construction and integration to training, support and project management, Sony's Professional Solutions and Services (PSSD) team continues to deliver a growing number of HD OB trucks to both new and existing customers and turnkey solutions to studio projects alike," said Garry Rhodin, General Manager, Professional Solutions and Services Division.

More recently, under the leadership and direction of Kozo Fujita, the BCAP has been restructured to comprise dedicated teams of business development, sales and product marketing resources focused on new opportunities for content creation and expanding Sony's role as a solutions provider into the growing Asian markets.

"Our main goal of this new Sony team is to work closely with both the broadcasters, production houses and the growing corporate markets. Together with the PSSD, we understand the needs of customers to transition their operations to HD today. We have system integrators and other resellers ready to put in place the systems, service and support infrastructures our customers need," Fujita said. "Our integrated stand and information seminars this year will allow all visitors to see the strength and flexibility that our products and services offer to help them meet their business goals. We hope these initiatives will enable everyone to truly understand our entire HD philosophy from, media and broadcast and beyond."