Sony, in an attempt to make the transition to HDTV more affordable to broadcasters and production professionals, announced a new pricing structure for HDCAM last week.
"We're trying to encourage content producers to produce in HD now," says Edward Grebow, president of Sony Electronics Broadcast and Professional Co. "We've narrowed the gap substantially between producing in HD and producing in SD, and, even if you don't have any plans to distribute in HD, this gives customers the chance to ensure the value of their content."
The biggest cost reduction will be on the HDW-500 VTR, which is now available for $49,500, a 20% reduction. Other new pricing includes $39,500 for the HDW-250 portable field player and $65,000 for the HDW-700A camcorder, the latter a $11,000 reduction.
"The pricing is the result of the demand for the product going up, and therefore we can start to lower our prices," says Bob Ott, vice president of VTR and storage marketing. "There's also a need for HDTV programming. And we see HDTV as not the future but the present. It's finally time to start talking about it as now."
Complementing the price reduction is the introduction of the HDW-M2100A digital multiplayer. "The significance of that product is that anyone who has acquired something on any of our half-inch formats can play them back in that machine," adds Ott. "The nice thing about it is there are no switches: You put the tape in, it senses what's on it, and it starts to play it."
The HDW-M2100 is scheduled to be available this summer at a suggested list price of $45,000.