NEWS RELEASE - JVC Professional Products Group
For Immediate Release

NAB 2009 Positioning Statement

Las Vegas, NV (April 20, 2009) — 2009 is a pivotal year for the broadcast industry. Declining viewership, falling revenues, increased fixed costs, competition from new programming sources (internet and mobile), the switch-over to digital transmission, and an imminent need to transition to HD programming have all come together in the worst economic climate since the Great Depression.

Yet, in spite of the harsh economic realities, with 56 million U.S. households receiving HDTV programming at the beginning of 2009—and that figure projected to grow to 86 million households by the end of 2010—the message to TV station owners is clear: without a large percentage of HDTV programming including news in HD, stations will not be competitive in their local market place.

In many instances, the economic downturn has delayed purchases, giving broadcasters an opportunity to look at new equipment in order to reevaluate their purchasing budgets and determine where to best allocate capital investments. The bottom line is, stations need to purchase the right products that will deliver quality HD to air faster and cheaper in order to survive, let alone to turn a profit.

With broadcasters' capital budgets being slashed dramatically, it would seem an inopportune time for a manufacturer to launch a new series of cameras targeted at the broadcast industry. But a close look at JVC's approach reveals a stunning irony: the transition to digital HDTV can actually save the broadcaster money while providing a means to increase market share and revenue. In a competitive environment where camera manufacturers are promoting expensive proprietary solutions, the panacea broadcasters have been hoping for may just be found in JVC's ProHD line-up.

ProHD Makes Your HD News Highly Cost Effective.

JVC’s ProHD is an integrated family of new HD cameras, camcorders and system components, designed for professional television, with emphasis on the competitive local news environment, delivering unprecedented HD format and solid state recording flexibility through a highly attractive performance-price ratio.

With the wide adoption of JVC’s GY-HD250 in its studio configuration, JVC has now expanded its ProHD line with two new camcorders—the GY-HM700 and the GY-HM100—specifically aimed at the ENG market. Rather than just package the features of the already popular GY-HD250 into a different form factor, JVC, along with key partners, developed and integrated enhancements designed to improve image quality, streamline workflow, and significantly reduce media and archiving costs.
Among JVC’s key decisions in expanding the ProHD line were the inclusion of Native File Recording to Apple’s QuickTime .mov and Sony’s XDCAM EX HD formats. Also significant was the capability of recording onto SxS professional memory cards or widely available and economical SDHC high grade high capacity memory cards. JVC and Sony joined forces to combine the original ProHD 720p60 with the EX .MP4 18, 25 and 35Mbps in the new expanded ProHD family, and to support Sony’s SxS solid state flash memory cards as well as JVC’s own recently available SDHC dual-slot integrated memory card recording sub-system.
JVC’s GY-HM700 and GY-HM100 camcorders support all major HD signal formats including 1920x1080, 1440x1080 and 1280x720, recording in realtime on the SxS memory cards (GY-HM700 only, with the optional SxS Docking Recorder KA-MR100G) or on the fully integrated dual slot SDHC memory card recorder, a built-in feature on both the GY-HM700 and the GY-HM100 camcorders.

Practical Media Solution.

When the ProHD concept was introduced back in 2004, JVC declared that the products must be able to utilize inexpensive, readily available media. Initially that meant tape, and JVC added random access capability with an optional HDD.  JVC determined that the move to solid state would occur only when they could offer the convenience and economy of tape, and the random access capability of a hard disk. It is finally possible to do that with SDHC memory. It's reliable, proven, and widely available in capacities up to 32GB. 16GB Class 6 SDHC cards are advertised for under $30. A pair of these cards will hold 1 hour and 40 minutes of HD at the highest quality level. A quick comparison of 1080/HD recording times tells the dramatic difference between SDHC and proprietary formats, such as P2 cards and SxS memory. Whereas P2 costs about $50 per minute, and SxS costs about $14 per minute, SDHC comes in at less than $1 per minute, is non-proprietary, and is about the size of a postage stamp. 

So why does lower cost media matter in a file based workflow where media is reused, and files are stored on a server? The reality is that in the field, when news is breaking and deadlines are tight, footage is often edited where access to the servers is limited. A camera operator can easily hand an inexpensive SDHC card to a reporter or producer and not worry about tracking it down later, or whether the files have been off loaded. It's treated like tape. Just pop in a new blank media card and continue working. Files can be archived just by saving the SDHC card.

As for storage solutions, JVC offers 3 x 5 note card size sleeves for storing SDHC media. While a seemingly low tech approach for file storage, many users will prefer the simple hands-on ability to archive the SDHC cards themselves.

Regardless of whether the broadcaster chooses to archive media itself, or simply reuse it, the cost of a file-based SDHC workflow is far less than competing proprietary solid state solutions, and lower than tape itself (when considering machine maintenance, physical storage requirements, etc.).

JVC’s first two solid state camcorders, the GY-HM100 compact hand held and GY-HM700 compact shoulder camcorders record directly to SDHC cards. While the two cameras are internally quite different, they do share the same encoder meaning that the files created are interchangeable regardless of shooting mode. With the GY-HM700, JVC also offers a model that records to both SDHC and SxS cards.

Native File (Fast-to-Air) Acquisition

Both the GY-HM700 and GY-HM100 camcorders incorporate JVC’s ProHD Native File Recording technology, storing video in a Ready-to-Edit file format (.mov) on the SDHC memory card. The files are used and accessed  directly by Apple’s Final Cut Pro non-linear editing system. The native workflow means several things:

Files are in a format that is easily and instantly editable. There is no waiting for conversion or transcoding, which is critical in a breaking news environment when you need to be first to air. Files are compressed at a bit rate that makes efficient and economical storage and manipulation possible. Gone are the huge server requirements of 100+ Mbps video. Basically, any infrastructure that can accommodate DV (25Mbps) can accommodate ProHD at 19-35Mbps.

Even off the shelf computers and editing systems (such as a Mac Book Pro equipped with FCP) can be used, saving huge amounts of money over proprietary news editing systems. Using popular editing products such as FCP, also makes sense from a staffing perspective since there are many more trained editors that are familiar with these products.

Smaller files are also ideal when they need to be used by many different people within the organization. One user might be editing a story for the evening news, while another user may be preparing the story for a webcast, or mobile news cast.

It all goes to the bottom line. Operating a news operation requires changing the way things have been traditionally done, and embracing new more cost-effective technologies.

GY-HM700 Solid State Media Camcorder.
ENG shooters often spend hours a day holding their cameras. For this reason, cameras have been traditionally shoulder supported. The ProHD compact shoulder form factor has won favor with photojournalists because it retains the familiar operation position of larger cameras, but with lighter weight and smaller size.

The GY-HM700 combines JVC’s popular shoulder form factor with a new level of performance suitable for demanding applications in HD ENG, as well as in production and cinematography, built on cutting edge solid state recording technology offering the choice of using the very economical and widely available SDHC memory cards or the extremely fast SxS memory card standard shared with the Sony EX product line. SxS and .mp4 operation requires to add the KA-MR100 camera-back SxS Media Recorder between the camera body and the battery. JVC models with an “XT” suffix have the Media Recorder pre-installed.

ProHD is Full Resolution Choice: 720p60 and 1080i60

Many broadcast groups offer programming in both 1080i and 720p formats depending on network affiliation of individual stations. JVC's ProHD platform now offers both formats, so that cameras can be standardized throughout the entire organization. With ProHD, stations that broadcast in 1080i also have the option of shooting in 720p at 19.7Mbps.. Encoding at 19.7Mbps has the unique advantage of producing signals that can be easily microwaved and stored, and then cross converted to 1080i upon playout.

GY-HM100 Solid State Media Camcorder Ideal for News Reporters & Producers

The GY-HM100 is the compact handheld smaller companion of the GY-HM700, offering features and performance found only in larger and more expensive models.  Seasoned shooters will find the small size convenient for work in environments where larger cameras would be impractical, while producing HD material which can be easily intercut in HD News and HD ENG programs. The capability to record to dual SDHC memory cards in the standard ProHD file format (.mov) in 35, 25 and 19Mbps makes this high performance HD camcorder the ideal companion to the larger shoulder-carried GY-HM700. Outputs include HDMI, easily converted to HD-SDI by external device.

The ProHD Studio Solution.

JVC designed its GY-HD250 ProHD camera with a robust studio configuration, complete with camera control unit, remote operations panel, studio viewfinders and lenses. With over 1,000 studio installations in the U.S. as of January 2009, the GY-HD250 is one of the nation’s top-selling studio cameras. Now in daily HD broadcast studio use across the country in major cities as well as in smaller markets, JVC's GY-HD250 has replaced dedicated studio cameras delivering both outstanding quality and significant cost savings.

In a studio configuration, the GY-HD250 offers both 720p and 1080i digital output, allowing it to be used in either environment. The camera's size and flexible mounting options allow it to be employed in a multitude of ways: on a pedestal, tripod, jib, or mounted on a robotic platform to the ceiling. This flexibility also includes the ability to use the camera outside the studio, for field ENG work or as part of highly specialized POV systems—such as within weather-resistant housings from Troll Systems. These systems, with full remote camera control, are used by stations to provide unique high-definition POV shots and camera views from locations not able to be manned. The affordability of the GY-HD250U, combined with the camera's built-in MPEG2 encoder makes these types of applications practical.

The GY-HD250 will be shown at NAB 2009 configured with a full range of studio options, including a fully featured CCU with remote operations panel (OCP), an 8.4-inch HD studio viewfinder, as well as a range of studio lenses and lens controls, including Canon’s DigiSuper 22x Compact Studio Lens.

Expanded HD Video Switching

JVC has significantly broadened the scope of its HD studio peripherals with two new HD video production switchers, the KM-H3000U and KM-H2500U. The KM-H3000 is a powerful 12-input single Multi-Level Effects (MLE) switcher ideal for small production studios, OB vans and flight packs. Its fully digital multi-resolution design makes it perfect for use with JVC GY-HD250 series ProHD cameras. The KM-H3000 features a compact single-piece design, allowing it to be installed virtually anywhere. Yet despite its small size, the KM-H3000U is packed with high-end features and performance, including frame synchronizers on four of its twelve input channels. The KM-H2500 is a 6-input version of the KM-H3000.

Field HD ENG Implementation

The latest generation HD electronic newsgathering solutions present real timesaving advantages for production because they introduce the benefits of a file-based workflow. However, HD ENG solutions using data rates of 50 or 100 Mbps may actually undermine the productivity gains of handling video as digital files. Too often they actually drive costs higher by limiting users to proprietary media, necessary multiple transcoding as part of the workflow, more expensive editing and storage systems, and potentially high archive costs. Generally, as data rates rise, so do workflow and facility infrastructure costs.

Understanding the way stations prefer to produce their SD newscasts is important to developing new HD newsgathering tools. Production systems must be optimized for efficient workflow while making economic sense. To be truly useful, new HD News workflows must take into account the entire content chain, from acquisition through to final transmission delivery. Ideally, all the capabilities previously available in SD news must be equally available for HD News. If so, then a file-based workflow will facilitate increased productivity and a fast ROI will be realized.

HD News: Uniformity Should Be the Benchmark.

Some manufacturers like to distill their HD News quality story to a simple “numbers” game, promoting the “false hope” idea that the higher the number (bit rate) during acquisition, the better the quality. Although there is some merit in this broad-brush approach, the reality of making it work goes a bit deeper. Beyond the numbers, one should consider how HD News quality is captured and preserved. One un-told HD News story is what happens after original field footage is captured. A second “gotcha” involves the hidden sacrifices linked to bit rate numbers, both as they relate to acquisition and microwave transmission.

While some are battling over proprietary compression solutions, they are devoid of real world perspective. Despite the “beautiful picture” that some manufacturers are promoting, there are hidden sacrifices linked to acquiring footage at 50-100 Mbps. Among them is the high (and expensive) computing horsepower necessary to process and compress files sizes to an easily manageable house format. Another is the difficulty or inability to affordably send “live” news and other field footage back to the station via microwave.

After acquiring HD images at a high data rate, the news producer must transcode it—either to a form usable by the station’s news editing system or to an uncompressed HD-SDI signal, or both—in order to seamlessly insert it into that evening’s newscast. The edited story is then often stored on a server. To conserve storage space, footage routed in the HD-SDI format might be transcoded again to an intermediate data format. Accessing the story for final airing may involve another transcoding step back to HD-SDI, after which the story is again transcoded to the long GOP MPEG-2 format for final transmission.
Each of these transcoding steps is not only costly, but can also degrade quality. As any chief engineer will tell you, in the end, the quality that matters is the quality aired. Avoiding excessive compression and decompression steps throughout the HD News workflow by working in a lower bit rate format not only preserves capital, it preserves quality.

In addition, when sending HD footage back to the station, data rates above 21 Mbps are incompatible with widely available RF microwave systems. They also don’t travel as far. So, with high data rate materials, compression is your only practical solution. Yet then there’s the concern about quality loss.

A second sacrifice linked to high data rate production is the cost of required proprietary media and the speed at which the media is consumed. Although the ideal of a tapeless workflow sounds promising, news organizations accustomed to the cost of tape-based media are often shocked by the cost of proprietary form factors.

An ideal HD News workflow, then, would have capabilities and economics virtually identical to an SD News workflow. It’s an end-to-end system that stays “native” across the content creation process and delivers virtually original HD quality to the viewer.

The JVC solution offers the advantage of capturing images that are pre-encoded, eliminating the need for transcoding, delivering great quality uniformly throughout your newscast.

HD News Workflow: “Affordable HD” Becomes PRACTICAL HD.

The key to a practical HD News transition is taking full advantage of available real-world technology. Because facility and operating costs rise in direct relation to data rates, the greatest benefits and greatest efficiencies result when data rates are kept low. At 20 Mbps, long GOP HD material looks great and fits perfectly within the most common Broadcast News infrastructures. Fortunately, long GOP encoding has matured over several years, enabling HD to be manipulated and complete programs created at SD data rates. Today, the MPEG-2 HD standard has evolved into a powerful, effective balance of quality and economy. Its use in a file-based news workflow based around a sensible facility infrastructure enables first-generation HD quality to be maintained throughout the production process, from ingest to the studio switcher. It also looks great on an HDTV screen.

JVC has supported and championed long-GOP encoding in its ProHD product family, including the its GY-HD250U camera, and this continues with the GY-HM700 and GY-HM100. JVC recognizes that the most practical and cost-effective way to make a smooth and quick transition to HD News hinges on a station’s ability to leverage low data rates while still maintaining a high-quality signal. Why transcode and continuously compress and decompress all along the production chain—which has a negative affect on image quality—when you can acquire footage in a native long GOP format at a low data rate and keep that content as a native file (and maintain high quality) during editing, in storage and even when broadcasting it to viewers?

20 Megabits per second is the ideal bit rate because:
Native File Workflow

Click for Native File Workflow Diagram

Among all of the camera manufacturers, only JVC is promoting the unique and cost-effective concept of a native file based workflow. Of course, this workflow involves other key component manufacturers besides JVC, such as those that provide non-linear editing, storage and media servers.

The benefits of a native file workflow are huge. The economics alone are so great that a broadcaster can't ignore them. That’s why a major U.S. broadcaster is implementing this type of IT-centric workflow, across multiple stations. It has increased productivity and enabled them to successfully compete. And the on-air look of each HD newscast is among the best in their respective markets.

HD News: More PRACTICAL HD: Local HD Remotes via Microwave is now a Reality

In today's broadcast environment, creating the image is only part of the story. The fast-paced world of breaking news and live events requires a reliable and cost-effective means of getting those signals back to the studio and broadcast center.

Among those stations broadcasting their news in HD from the studio, acquiring native HD in the field and getting it back to the station via digital microwave continues to be the missing link. Most now upconvert SD images from the field. The difference between real HD and upconverted SD is often very noticeable to viewers with large-screen HD sets. Thanks to JVC’s ProHD strategy, however, true HD transmission back to the station or a production truck is now possible and completely practical.

With the GY-HD250U's integrated HD SuperEncoder, it's possible and cost effective for stations to upgrade from SD remote transmission to live HD remotes. This unique capability is already being adopted by several major-market news operations in the U.S. A ProHD camera-encoded (20 Mbps) signal can be easily connected to a truck microwave using an inexpensive ASI bridge, allowing full resolution HD to be sent back to the station.

JVC is even taking HD remotes to the next level with its Libre camera-mounted microwave system. For news crews looking to get a competitive edge, it’s now possible to shoot live HD in the field without being tethered to a news van.

With a range of 1,000 feet, ENG crews can send signals within a 20 Mbps data stream from the news event to a microwave truck, then on to the station for air, without the need for external encoders or third-party transmission boxes. It’s also possible to air images straight out of the camera.

Storage Flexibility For An Ever Changing World

Hard disk recording (model DR-HD100) has been part of the JVC strategy for several years, as it offers immediate editing of raw footage without transfer from tape. With this product, JVC has helped pioneer a workflow that allows users to remove the hard drive from the camera and immediately start editing. The native file recording process has helped thousands of production teams streamline their operations and turn around projects faster than they ever could with tape.

JVC recently added native 60p QuickTime (.mov) file format recording to its DRHD100 hard disk system, allowing users with Apple's popular Final Cut Pro to directly edit footage without conversion. We’ve seen that more than half of JVC's field camera users have also purchased the DRHD100 option, either as their primary recording medium, or for redundant recording that provides an instant (and secure) backup.

Interchangeable HD Lenses: Adaptable Front-End View

Another HD production area sometimes overlooked is the lens, which may well be one of the most important pieces of the production chain. JVC understands that professionals need to have flexibility in what lenses they use and how they use them.

That’s why JVC cameras feature a Bayonet-style mount that accommodates a wide range of interchangeable lenses. The user should not be limited by a fixed lens selected by a manufacturer that may or may not be optimal for their type of projects. All types of lenses, from wide-angle, telephoto, ENG-style to box-style studio models are being used every day, for a variety of applications, with JVC cameras.

The GY-HM700 features a standard 1/3-inch lens bayonet mount and can accept numerous lenses from JVC and other manufacturers. Canon developed the KT14.4KRSJ lens especially for this camera to provide superior performance to the economy lens usually provided base packages. The lens has improved lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberration characteristics and is ideal for full 1920 x 1080 imaging. Best of all, its angle of view is 20% wider than JVC’s previous 16X "stock" lens. For customers wanting to upgrade, JVC offers a 13x (3.5 mm) wide Fujinon zoom lens, 17x Fujinon zoom lens, 18x Fujinon zoom lens (with and without a 2x extender), 20x Canon zoom lens, and adapters that allow ½-in and 2/3" bayonet mount lenses to be used. JVC also offers the HZ-CA13U PL mount adapter that enables use of 16mm prime lenses. This is an extremely high quality piece of glass that has a special appeal to filmmakers and cinematographers. When using a prime lens, the image is flipped upside down.  The GY-HM700 features a built in circuit that inverts the image so that it can be viewed normally. 

JVC Vèritè Monitors: Displaying HD In Its Best Light

JVC continues to market four unique high-quality flat-panel studio monitors that fit in nicely with the ProHD product family, accurately display native HD images in the best possible color renditions, and now include closed-captioning. The technology is now so advanced that these latest-generation models rival traditional CRT monitors, including those from JVC, used for live feed evaluation.

While many manufacturers have chosen to offer matte finish screens that cut down on reflections and glare, this has been proven to compromise color rendition quality. JVC provides its monitors with a clear flat-panel screen in order to maintain deeper colors, rich tones and color saturation, and better viewing angles.

JVC Vèritè monitors are widely respected and can be found in studios, in postproduction suites, on production trucks across the country and in one of the largest cable news organizations in the U.S. They are by far the clearest, sharpest, most color-rich, most cost-effective LCD monitors on the market today.

Our impressive broadcast flat-panel monitor line now includes four models, each designed for specific applications. Along with wide viewing angles, high-speed LCDs, and precise color reproduction, and closed captioning (some models), they also offer area markers, tally, AC/DC power supply, and rotary images controls.

There’s the DT-V24L3DY, 24-inch monitor (1920 x 1080 native HD resolution) and the DT-V20L3DY, 20-inch monitor (1680 x 945 display), as well as the compact DT-V17L3DU 17-inch unit and the DT-V9L1DU, 9-inch monitor. There are also built-in HD-SDI and DVI-D digital inputs, for direct connection to broadcast and studio sources.

Total Commitment to Broadcast Market

With the success and acceptance of JVC’s ProHD product line, JVC has doubled the size of its direct to market sales organization. Unique demands come with selling to broadcasters and JVC has expanded its initiative to include a group of highly capable broadcast reps to operate under its JVC Broadcast Rep program. JVC Broadcast Reps are highly qualified sales and service professionals that represent a limited number of JVC models available exclusively—and directly—to call-letter broadcasters. One such model is the Libre microwave ENG camera system. Another is a specially configured GY-HD250 camera with a special “LoLux” feature that allows ENG users to shoot more effectively in extreme low light conditions.

True to Our Mission

JVC is the only company to offer the ability to facilitate and manage the entire production chain of an HD program, from acquisition to distribution. And we do it at a price and operating efficiency stations cannot afford to ignore.

At about one-third of the cost of other HD production equipment, ProHD systems are ideally suited to today’s tightening economics. This includes cameras, player/recorders and Vèritè displays. JVC’s ProHD product family also offers the most economical media costs: whether it be tape, hard drive or non-proprietary, solid-state media. Prices will continue to come down while the quality will only improve with time.

Now fully embraced within the industry, JVC ProHD products also perfectly complement other companies’ low-cost workflow solutions, such as those from Apple, Bit Central, Omneon, and others.

For those looking to be the first in their market with HD, while reaching those millions if HD sets already in consumers’ homes, there’s no better or more cost-effective way to get it done than with JVC ProHD. The quality compares favorably to any competitor, in any market. To the hundreds of stations not doing HD news, we say, now more than ever—when you need to be On air, On time and On budget, you need JVC ProHD.

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