Local Cable Organization Is First in Country to Acquire, Produce and Post Entirely in HD
LAS VEGAS, NV (April 17, 2005) – Cox Communications’ award-winning San Diego cable channel 4/704 has recently purchased an array of Panasonic HD equipment to support its HD channel’s full conversion to HD production.

The purchase of Panasonic HD equipment includes four AJ-HDX400 1080i DVCPRO HD camcorders and five
AJ-HD1200A IEEE 1394-capable DVCPRO HD VTRs. Last year, the organization invested in Panasonic’s
AJ-HDC27 variable-frame-rate VariCam® HD Cinema camera, AJ-HD1700 DVCPRO HD decks and an
AJ-UFC1800 Universal Format Converter. The channel will turn over its existing DVCPRO50 gear to Cox Media’s commercial division for spot production.

Ch. 704 (Ch. 4 is the SD simulcast), available to cable subscribers throughout the San Diego viewing area, is a prime-time channel whose original programming (above and beyond its live broadcasts of Padres baseball and college sports) has been honored with several regional Emmys and Press Club Awards. The Panasonic equipment will be used to produce all the channel’s pre-recorded magazine and sports shows, e.g. the San Diego Insider, the region’s only news magazine; Forefront, a field-produced in-depth interview show with prominent San Diegans; One on One with Jane Mitchell, a monthly profile of a Padres or Chargers player; Padres Magazine, bi-weekly recaps of the best features from the pre-game show; and Chargers Preview. All these shows will debut in HD this summer (other than Chargers Preview, which airs during football season).

“With nearly half of all consumers planning to make their next television purchase a HDTV set, the HDTV viewing audience is growing rapidly at the local level and Panasonic applauds Cox 4/704 San Diego’s leading efforts to provide its viewers with significant local programming in HD,” said John Baisley, President, Panasonic Broadcast.

According to Production Manager Richard Taylor, “As longtime DVCPRO users, we have always envisioned taking advantage of the format’s scalability and transitioning to the 100mb/s product. The DVCPRO50 equipment has been rock solid, as reliable as anything I’ve ever worked with. Two years ago, in anticipation of our ultimate move to HD, we began shooting 16:9 and letterboxing. The result is that all that past work is still available to us. We simply play the tapes in the -1200A decks, which upconverts the footage to HD. There’s no better test of the DVCPRO format’s viability than being able to repurpose all that archival material—and have it look seamless and superb.”

Taylor explained that the channel’s photographers will use the VariCam (720p) and AJ-HDX400 (1080i) cameras interchangeably, but will reserve the VariCam for shoots calling for motion effects. “We feel absolutely confident that we can inter-cut the material in any given segment and the cameras will match and work effectively together,” he said.

CH.4/704 has five editing room and five logging stations. Its six HD decks (five AJ-HD1200As, one AJ-HD1700) will be rack-mounted in a tape area and controlled by a router. Taylor explained that the AJ-HD1200As will each be dedicated to one of the editing rooms for Mac-based HD desktop editing with Final Cut Pro HD, and will be routable for other uses (e.g., logging).

“The AJ-HD1200A, with its direct Firewire connection, is the key to our being able to launch our HD channel affordably,” he added.

Taylor noted that the Universal Format Converter will be used to upconvert and reformat standard-definition material for HD editing, as well as to create SD copies for customers and clients.

He said that he anticipates Ch.704’s HD launch to be complete by June.

The AJ-HDX400 is a production-quality, 1080i DVCPRO HD camcorder that makes high definition acquisition more affordable for content creators. To dramatically lower the cost of HD postproduction, the AJ-HDX400 teams with the Panasonic AJ-HD1200A IEEE 1394 DVCPRO HD VTR and Apple Final Cut HD software to offer a powerful, affordable acquisition-through-editing system.

The AJ-HDX400 features three 2/3” 1-million pixel IT progressive CCDs to produce a high sensitivity of F10 at 2000 lux, outstanding low-light shooting down to 0.008 lux (at +68dB), and ultra-sensitive recording up to 74dB in digital super gain mode.

With Panasonic’s compact AJ-HD1200A DVCPRO HD VTR, material shot on a VariCam or AJ-HDX400 can be transferred via the VTR’s IEEE 1394 interface directly into Apple’s Final Cut Pro HD without generation loss. Once transferred, the material is instantly available for real-time editing operations. All footage maintains its camera-original quality, because the IEEE 1394 FireWire interface transfers the native DV-HD high definition files, as originally recorded on tape in the VTR or VariCam, directly to the Power Mac G4 or Power Mac G5 host computer's internal hard drive. At that point, users can edit camera-original quality HD content on their desktop.

About Panasonic Broadcast

Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co. is a leading supplier of broadcast, professional video andpresentation products and systems. Panasonic Broadcast is a unit company of Panasonic Corporation of North America. The company is the North American headquarters of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC) of Japan, and the hub of its U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations For more information on Panasonic Broadcast products, access the company’s web site at