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Sony Electronics — Alec Shapiro, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Broadcast and Production Systems

Alec ShapiroQ. What kind of products or services does your company offer for broadcasters?
Sony's high-definition broadcast and production equipment, which includes cameras and camcorders, multi-format switchers, decks and displays, are used by program producers and TV stations for prime-time episodic programming, newscasts and sports broadcasts, as well as by OB van companies, production houses and studios.

Q. What's new that you will exhibit at the NAB Show and what should broadcasters look for there?
Sony Electronics is highlighting more than 30 new models at the NAB Show. These range from new HDV camcorders with mixed media flexibility to the growing XDCAM HD422 family of optical disc products, XDCAM EX solid-state systems, and up to the F23 and F35 CineAlta camera systems.

More specifically, we're adding new features and functionality to many of our product lines. The MVS Series of production switchers will have new automation capabilities. We're unveiling new HD field and studio acquisition products, as well as HD storage solutions. To make handling 1080/60p content easier, we're adding 3G capabilities to many of our studio cameras, as well as to our LCD monitors and production switchers and, finally, our cameras and switchers will be more "3D-friendly." And, of course, there will be some more surprises that we'll unveil once we get to Las Vegas!

Q. How is your new product offering different from what's available on the market?
In addition to our products' quality, we're confident that Sony offers the most complete range of products for any application and budget in the broadcast industry — from entry-level to mid-market to high-end. Our current HD line-up supports all media — videotape, professional Compact Flash, hard disk, optical disc and our new SxS PRO ExpressCard-based media, giving customers choices in terms of how they can manage their workflow or how their clients want content delivered.

We always try to build in as much legacy compatibility and multi-format flexibility as possible in all our products, and that will be evident as you walk through our exhibit.

But equally important as our product line is what we believe really makes Sony different from most other manufacturers: the extent of our HD expertise and resources. We continually draw upon the HD innovation being developed on both the consumer and professional sides of our business to create new products and systems that today's broadcast professional requires.

Q. How has your company been affected by the current economic situation and what are you doing to get through it?
We've definitely seen the effects of the current economy, especially the impact on local TV stations. Capital budgets are being frozen at both the network and station levels and many customers are adopting a "good enough" mentality; buying what they can afford, not necessarily what they'd like to purchase.

But while business has slowed in places, we're equally optimistic about how much we continue to sell. High-quality productions are still in high demand, and the HD migration continues to progress not only in broadcast, but in education, houses of worship, the government and sports. There are many major new sports stadiums under construction and at existing facilities, consumers aren't going to be satisfied with standard-def CRT monitors in the luxury suites. For movie and TV production, the quality of our latest CineAlta cameras and combined with current budget realities are making professionals focus more on the advantages offered by our digital cinematography solutions.

So our response has been to keep doing what's worked for us all along: offering our customers the widest range of solutions and systems for their diverse workflows and budgets.

Q. Where are you based, and how many employees do you have? Anything else we should know about your company?
Sony's broadcast and production systems division is based in Park Ridge, N.J., with our U.S. corporate headquarters located in San Diego, Calif.