Thomson Aligns with Panasonic

In a clear acknowledgement of the IT trend in broadcast news- and control-room operations, Thomson threw its weight behind Panasonic's solid-state memory format initiative, unveiled earlier this year at NAB2003. During a press conference at the International Broadcasters Convention earlier this month in Amsterdam, Thomson said it would integrate Panasonic's P2, SD-memory technology into its current generation of Grass Valley digital news production products, its M-Series iVDR devices and future acquisition equipment. Between the two companies, the goal is to create a complete digital news acquisition and production chain based on SD memory.

The announcement is a particular boon for Panasonic, which demonstrated what was essentially a prototype SD-card camera at NAB against Sony's finished optical-disc camera. The two, new nonlinear camera formats signaled a potential technology shift that suggested only one would be left standing. At the time Sony was ahead of the curve, with an entire optical-disc product line scheduled to hit the market this fall. Panasonic anticipated getting an SD-based camera on the market by Q1, 2004.

Marc Valentin, president of Thomson Broadcast and Media Solutions, said, "In announcing its support for this technology, Thomson recognizes the overwhelming advantages that the P2 card provides with other digital media solutions, both in terms of workflow and performance."

A couple of major broadcast groups also indicated their format preference at the announcement of the joint agreement. Raycom Media's vice president of technology, Dave Folsom, said his 40-station group helped Panasonic develop the SD-card technology "because we strongly believe in it." Andy Setos, president of engineering for the Fox Entertainment Group, also endorsed the format and the initiative.