Tech Briefs


Canon Debuts High-Def Camera

The long-awaited HD video camera from Canon, the XL H1, finally arrived last week, offering 1080-line–interlace recording capabilities with 20x HD video lens, for $8,999. The camera, expected to be available in November, has three 1/3-inch 16:9 CCDs for imaging and can switch between recording at 60, 30 and 24 frames per second. Also useful for broadcasters are HD-SDI (high-definition serial digital interface) output, genlock (which synchs up multi-camera shoots) and SMPTE time code (which makes it easy to find the right clip).

NY1 Goes Interactive

Time Warner Cable is deploying a Navic Networks platform that allows digital subscribers in New York City to vote in polls, get in touch with advertisers, and perform other actions via their remote controls. Thanks to Navic's HyperGate technology, viewers of NY1, a 24-hour news channel owned by Time Warner Cable, voted on “snap polls” related to the recent mayoral primaries by pressing the A, B or C buttons on their remote. Producers posted four questions during the night, and 18,000 viewers took part. New York City is the third TWC system to roll out the service, following Hawaii and Albany, N.Y. Albany is experimenting with interactive advertising, letting viewers request that a local car dealership contact them. The system also added interactive elements to public-service announcements, so viewers can request that the Red Cross call them about a donation.

Blockbuster Eyes VOD

IBC attendees got a peek at the technology that would drive a Blockbuster-branded video-on-demand service. NDS, which is also developing DirecTV's next-generation interactive-TV services, demonstrated its xSpace on-demand platform working as a backend to a Blockbuster VOD service. Although Blockbuster says it has no current plans to offer VOD, Steve Middleton, European director of new media for Blockbuster Digital Entertainment, says it's a natural progression for the company. The service would use IPTV technology to tap into a cable operator's VOD system for delivery.