MDR investS in first P2 units
Compatibility with DVCPRO is a key factor
Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk (MDR), a publicly-owned broadcasting corporation in central Germany, has signed a contract with Panasonic at IBC 2004 in Amsterdam for delivery of its first P2 camera systems and matching ancillary equipment. The decision follows extensive practical trials.
Both MDR and ZDF have served as development partners for the tapeless P2 technology since it was first introduced. The revolutionary fixed-storage systems open up a host of new possibilities, especially in terms of current productions and signal processing in IT networks.
A key aim of the investment is to prepare for a decision in principle to procure P2 technology to replace existing equipment at MDR. The broadcaster also wants to test just how well MXF files can be integrated in MDR’s server-based infrastructure and the additional benefits to the work flow that result.
As MDR sees it, P2 technology has a promising future due to its connection to the IT world. A decisive factor in planning for further integration of DV native signals is P2’s complete compatibility with the standard format at MDR – DVCPRO. For the broadcaster, which operates in three German states, it is new technologies that count, not new recording formats.
MDR is one of the most important DVCPRO users in Germany. Around 300 DVCPRO and DVCPRO50 units are in action at its locations in Leipzig, Dresden, Magdeburg and Erfurt.

The P2 system from Panasonic is a revolutionary production technology for broadcast operation. Instead of cassette drives, P2 equipment features insertion slots for memory cards. Among the first DVCPRO P2 products are the 2/3" camcorder AJ-SPX800 (P2 cam), the studio recorder AJ-SPD850 (P2 deck), the P2 cassette drive AJ-PCD10 (P2 drive) and the P2 memory cards AJ-P2C004 with 4 GB and AJ-P2C002 with 2 GB capacities (P2 cards).
The P2 card is based on the outstanding SD memory cards, whose capacities have been continually extended. The same size as a PCMCIA card, it contains four SD memory cards plus additional electronics. At present, the 4 GB card can be used to record up to 16 minutes of DVCPRO material or up to eight minutes of DVCPRO50 material including video, audio and metadata. This gives the AJ-SPX800 Camcorder recording times of up to 80 minutes, as a maximum of five cards can be used together. P2 cards are extremely durable, with rewritability of over 100,000 repetitions without loss of quality. The plug-in connection is extremely reliable, able to handle 30,000 plug-ins or more.