Nordahl examines HDV, HVX formats

As portable HD acquisition slowly becomes a reality for electronic newsgathering, stations find themselves confronted with a wide variety of choices and new nomenclature.

Sorting it all out will be of fundamental importance before charting a direction toward high definition ENG acquisition. Industry consultant Tore Nordahl has made a recent contribution to that effort with the publication of the second of three articles exploring the HD options.

The article “Is Sony’s XDCAM HD just HDV? But first: Canon, JVC & Sony’s HDV camcorders vs. Panasonic’s HVX200” lays out the technical requirements of the HDV format and its implementation in the Sony HVR-Z1, Canon XL H1 and JVC GY-HD100. The article also sheds light on Panasonic’s answer to HDV, the HVX200 camcorder.

According to Nordahl, the HDV format requires recording highly compressed high definition video onto a mini-DV tape cassette “not to exceed the standard 25Mb/s DV bit rate” and that the signal must be 4:2:0 sampled MPEG-2 compliant with a Group of Pictures (GOP) equaling 15 in 1440 x 1080 (60i or 50i) or six in a 1280 x 720 (30p or 25p) mode. Aside from those two requirements, manufacturers are free to include HDV camcorder features that improve their market position. This leads to limited compatibility among HDV systems; however, on the positive side it gives manufacturers an incentive to refine their products over time as they seek a competitive advantage, Nordahl wrote.

To read the article in its entirety, visit

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