At IBC, Panasonic outlined its HD migration strategy for Europe and global markets including publishing a Position Paper on HD in Europe. At IBC, Panasonic announced its support for the EBU proposed HD standard of 720/50p for European HD services, while also confirming continued strong support for 1080/50i production equipment.
In its Position Paper on HD in Europe, published at IBC, Panasonic highlighted that Panasonic supports both interlace and progressive HD standards. “Early HD adopters in the USA and Japan have chosen 1080i. Forthcoming major sporting events such as the 2006 Olympics in Turin and World Cup in Germany also in 2006 are both using 1080/50i. Panasonic has a growing range of HD equipment for 1080/50i production and is launching new products at IBC for this standard.”

However “progressive production is also gaining support. Film production, dramas, and documentary makers like the “look and feel” of progressive pictures. Panasonic progressive cameras both in SD and HD are proving very popular.”

Robert Pascher, Panasonic Broadcast Europe Marketing Manager said, “The proposed European standard, 720/50p provides a good solution for European broadcasters and consumers. Recent research by the BBC shows that 720p pictures in the home on large screen displays are the best solution for the typical domestic configuration (2.8m from the screen).”

Panasonic’s underlying HD broadcast strategy is to work closely with European broadcasters through the EBU and other industry bodies.

At IBC, Tadao Simozuru, Director, MEI, AV Business Systems, highlighted the importance of P2 tapeless acquisition in Panasonic’s SD to HD migration strategy. He said, “Panasonic is building a stable of products for a tapeless acquisition environment from SD to HD, providing our customers with a clear migration path to HD combined with long term commitment and support.”

He outlined three broad trends in Panasonic’s migration to HD in production.

In high end production, Panasonic will “develop a D5-HD P2 camcorder for global production markets. This will have 720/50p and later 1080/50p capability and be targeted at high end production applications.”

Panasonic’s D5-HD VTR is an industry standard, widely used in Hollywood and other HD production centres for mastering and as a programme bridge to the SD world. Building on D5-HD ’s technology will ensure support for current investment by the high end production community.

For broadcast production, he said, “Panasonic will expand the product line of DVCPRO and DVCPRO50 compatible P2 products. You will see us introducing even more cost effective camcorders and a palm style mini-camcorder for broadcast use. Panasonic will introduce the first DVCPRO HD compatible P2 products in 2006 under a clear and consistent migration path toward HD.”

While for professional production, Panasonic will exploit P2’s open architecture, and “we will introduce a MPEG-based HD resolution, palm-style mini-camcorder using P2, for the professional market in 2005.”

A major theme of Panasonic’s migration strategy, according to Robert Pascher, Marketing Manager of Panasonic Broadcast Europe is that “the introduction of HD must be cost effective. Key to this is going to be a smooth transition, building on current technology with a clear pathway to HD services. Panasonic’s DV and DVCPRO and DVCPROHD family of products demonstrates this philosophy. It offers a clear migration to HD, it is highly cost effective and Panasonic has shown long term commitment and support to its development.”