Panasonic Announces MPEG-4 Support in P2

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Panasonic says that, starting next year, it will begin supporting MPEG-4 compression (technically compliant with the SMPTE H.264 standard) in its P2 tapeless acquisition format. The optional AVC-Intra (Advanced Video Coding-Intraframe) compression will be available in April 2007 and will provide the same video quality at half the bandwidth of DVCPRO HD today, says Panasonic Director of Product Marketing Joe Facchini.

Panasonic will continue to use its popular DV compression in the P2 cameras. The company's strategy is to support both formats to provide an easy upgrade path for P2 customers, says Facchini. "MPEG-4 will be the next transition, but DVCPRO has served us very well," he says.

Panasonic does not intend to support MPEG-2 compression, which is used In rival Sony XDCAM product and will also be supported by Grass Valley's Infinity camera. Facchini says lacking MPEG-2 support is only a near Term problem, as the industry is quickly moving to embrace MPEG-4.

Panasonic also announced at NAB that Raycom Media, an early adopter of The P2 solid-state acquisition format, has purchased DVCPRO P2 series Camcorders and P2 drives valued at more than $2.2 million to launch the second phase of converting its news operations to P2 technology.

Raycom's second purchase of DVCPRO P2 includes 85 hand-held AG-HVX200 camcorders, 40 shoulder-mount DVCPRO P2 camcorders, 125 AJ-PCS060G P2 Store drives and 8GB P2 cards.

The 12 stations that will be getting the new P2 gear include: WTOL Toledo, Ohio; WAVE Louisville, Ky.; KFVS Cape Girardeau, Mo.; KOLD Tucson, Ariz.; WAFB Baton Rouge, La.; WDAM Hattiesburg, Miss.; WECT Wilmington, N.C.; WFLX West Palm Beach, Fla.; WMC Memphis, Tenn.; WTOC Savannah, Ga.; WOIO Cleveland, Ohio.; and KCBD Lubbock, Texas.

Raycom announced its decision to convert to P2 last May and converted two of its stations last year, then inherited seven more P2-equipped news operations when it acquired Liberty Corporation. Once the recent P2 installation is completed this year, 21 Raycom stations will be using the DVCPRO P2 format for news acquisition.

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