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Sony Pushes ‘HD for All’

As usual, it’s going to be difficult to miss the Sony Electronics folks at NAB2007. They’re the ones with the super-sized second floor booth at the front of South Hall.

(click thumbnail)The Sony F23 CineAlta cameraAs usual, it’s going to be difficult to miss the Sony Electronics folks at NAB2007. They’re the ones with the super-sized second floor booth at the front of South Hall.

And once again they’re there with some very innovative products they’re showing the world for the very first time.

The big push for Sony at NAB2007 is high-definition gear, according to Alec Shapiro, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

“This year our theme is ‘HD for All: Real Systems, Right Now,’ and we’ll back that up with real end-to-end complete systems,” Shapiro said. “These will include the SONAPS advanced news production system and HDXchange, a low-cost, networked content-sharing solution for program producers. Also, our XDCAM HD system will be expanded with new products, and we’ll also talk about our plans for evolving the tapeless workflow.”

Shapiro confirmed that Sony’s booth is indeed the largest at the show, occupying 24,000 square feet.

“It’s safe to say that we believe having a large presence at [the NAB show] is very important,” Shapiro said.

According to Shapiro, Sony will be featuring an enhanced “Hot Products” section near the booth entrance. This area will use digital signage to provide visitors with a quick preview of what new products await them further on into the booth space.


Central to Sony’s presence at NAB2007 is the concept of products that share a common element—MPEG compression.

Sony will present complete systems that can make complete use of MPEG-2 Long GOP streams at low data rates and deliver high-quality video without the risk of signal format compromise.

“The MPEG algorithm is technologically mature enough to efficiently satisfy the most demanding picture requirements for broadcast and production applications,” said Hugo Gaggioni, Sony’s chief technology officer in the Broadcast and Production Systems Division.

Gaggioni says that MPEG not only can facilitate workflow, but that it also provides full interoperability with a range of NLEs.

Sony will have several MPEG-based products at their booth, including entry-level HDV camcorders and mid-priced XDCAM optical production equipment.


Sony has been busy adding to the company’s Luma line of professional LCD technology display devices. New for the show is a 42-incher, the model LMD-4250W which displays at 1920×1080. There’s also a new 24-inch model, the LMD-2450W, as well as a couple of 20-inch units, the models LMD-2050W and LMD-2030W. They both boast 1680×1050 resolution.

All of the new models provide video waveform monitoring, as well as picture displays; they have closed-captioning capability; provide audio level meter displays; and all use 10-bit processing. The new Luma line products do Sony’s previous models one better by providing users with a multidisplay function, providing two side-by-side images.


For moviemakers, there’s a new CineAlta product that should draw a big crowd. This is the F23, which joins Sony’s previous entry—the HDC-F950—in the high end HD film-look line.

“With this new system, content creators and program producers will have one more extremely versatile high-end production tool in their arsenal,” said Rob Willox, Sony’s director of marketing for professional content creation products. “Developed for cinematographers, this system will offer the technical and mechanical flexibility they need, as well as a compact and rugged design to withstand the challenging conditions often encountered on location.”

The new model shoots in 1920×1080 4:4:4 RGB imaging and supports a variety of frame rates. There’s a new 4:4:4 recorder, the SRW-1, which docks directly to the top or tail of the camera, eliminating the need for interconnecting cables.

Sony is also showing off a new entry in its HDV camcorder product line, the HVR-V1U, which can produce 24p images and was designed with the needs of cinematographers, videographers and documentary producers in mind.


“Direct-to-air” video isn’t being neglected either. Sony is taking the wraps off of a new high-definition studio camera, the HDC-1400. It’s designed for dual-format operation and is equally at home in 1080/59.94i or 720/59.94p environments. The HDC-1400 also features a multimatrix color control, a skin detail control and high-quality downconversion to SD video.

Wilcox noted that the camera would provide a lower cost entry into high-definition broadcasting at stations that didn’t need the full multiformat flexibility available in other Sony cameras.

Sony will also take the wraps off the HD-only version of its Anycast Station live production system.

Rounding out Sony’s booth are many other camera/camcorder systems, multiformat switchers, tape decks, Vegas software and products from third-party companies including Avid, Apple and Canopus.


Time marches on and broadcasting technology constantly changes. Shapiro says that his company is striving to be right in step with what the customer’s needs.

“It’s imperative that we continually expand our vision of what our products can do and how they can help our customers move forward for the future,” Shapiro said. “So, rather than selling ‘a camera’ or ‘a deck,’ we need to find new ways to take our core products and integrate them into a complete system, ultimately providing more value to the customer.

Shapiro noted that this concept didn’t just apply strictly to the broadcast side of things.

“We’re also sharpening our focus on market segments like houses of worship, government and education, as well as hospitality, retail and professional and collegiate sports.”