During its annual press conference at the 2011 NAB Show, Panasonic executives highlighted an improving broadcast equipment market by announcing a several high profile deals and debuting a number of new products, including a number of smaller HD cameras and its second 3D camcorder.
"After a couple of difficult years, revenues for TV are increasing and this market improvement was evident in our sales in 2010," noted John Baisley, executive VP of Panasonic Solutions Company (PSC) during the conference.
In terms of new customers, Baisley noted that the Sinclair Broadcast Group has made a major purchase of AG-HPX370 P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorders to outfit all news photographers at stations in 12 markets that are producing local news.
The camera purchases for Sinclair come on the heels of the group's recent acquisitions of AG-HPX170 P2 HD handhelds for use in the field, AJ-HPM200 P2 Mobile recorder/players, and AK-HC1500G multi-purpose 2/3" 3-CCD HD cameras, which are used as studio cameras on news sets.
Baisley also announced that its DVCPRO HD will be the official recording format for capturing the London 2012 Olympic Games and that the Olympic Broadcasting Services London, which is the host broadcasters, will use the P2 HD series with solid-state memory cards for video recording equipment.
In addition, the NFL Films recently purchased AJ-HPX3100 master-quality, 1080p 2/3" P2 HD camcorders, AG-HPD24 P2 decks, BT-LH910 9" LCD monitors, AJ-PCD35 five-slot P2 drives and scores of high-capacity 64GB P2 cards.
Finally, NASA will be using Panasonics AG-3DA1 Full HD 3D camcorder in space to document the International Space Station on the final mission of the NASA Space Shuttle.
Despite the improved demand for broadcast equipment, Panasonic's new product announcements included three low cost HD cameras that illustrate the growing demand for less costly HD upgrades and cameras.
During the conference, PSC executives introduced two new professional AVCCAM HD handheld camcorders, the AG-AC160 and AG-AC130, which incorporate 1/3", full-HD 2.2 megapixel 3-MOS imagers to capture native 1920 x 1080 resolution images, with a new, wider 21X HD zoom lens.
The AG-AC160 and AG-AC130 will be available in the fall of 2011 with suggested list prices of less than $5,500 for the AC160 and $4,000 for the AC130.
The third new low cost camera touted during the presentation was the AG-HPX250, a P2 HD handheld camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2 and 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording. It will be available in the fall of 2011 for $6,500.
Panasonic also introduced several pieces of 3D related equipment, including a second generation 3D camera, the AG-3DP1. It is a 3D twin-lens P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2 independent-frame, full 1920 x 1080 resolution AVC-Intra recording.
"Less than a year ago, Panasonic simplified and lowered the cost-of-entry to high-quality 3D production with the AG-3DA1, the industry's first fully-integrated, 3D camcorder," explained Joseph Facchini, vice president of sales and product management, at PSC. "Now, the shoulder-mount AG-3DP1 offers a larger imager, 10-bit color depth, AVC-Intra recording to P2 media, and EFP-style shooting to expand the universe of affordable 3D production for live events, sports, documentaries and independent films."