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NAB Builds High Def Excitement

The NAB (National Association of Broadcasting) show in Vegas is interesting for both broadcasters and consumers alike. Companies reveal new alliances and products and consumers get a glimpse at how the latest in technology will ultimately change the home entertainment landscape.

The biggest news is the drop in price of high-def cameras for professionals and consumers from industry leaders like Sony and Panasonic. For example, the Panasonic DVX100 has been a favorite for independent film-makers for some time. Now the company is rolling out the HVX200, which serves up a high-def solution to the same market. Look to pay about $5k for a professional quality HD camera in the coming year with units available for consumers approaching $1500 as the market matures and more standards emerge.

Some early adopters of high-def may be distraught at the rapid drop in the value of their gear. But it's great news for everyone else that's been waiting for the prices to drop to get into the high-def game. Along with more affordable gear, software makers are continually pumping out plug-ins that allow professionals and hobbyists alike to create amazing productions with a much smaller investment than just a couple of years ago.

Simultaneously, Intel and AMD are ramping up production of dual core processors that are starting to debut in PCs. That's exciting news for smaller studios that will be able to render MPEGs and other file formats while continuing to edit on a single machine. Look for network rendering solutions that will be even simpler to implement too.

So how will this effect what you see on your television' Well, this will speed up the transition to high-def and the pace at which shows can be produced. The crew I work with on Curb Appeal also shoots a show for HGTV called Design Remix. Remix is being shot in high-def. Now, most of the time that requires a technician to be on hand for each camera in use to make sure things are in focus, the color is right and the picture is not blown out by too much light. Interviews are shot with the more expensive gear. Since high-def reveals all the flaws it takes a bit more patience to use. Well the smaller more affordable cameras are a bit less complicated but quality is still dynamite. I've been in edits where it becomes very difficult to distinguish among the sources. What usually gives it away is the quality of the shots. And that's where this is headed, more affordable, great quality cameras that don't require an entire team to operate.

Of course, this doesn't mean the quality of your TV shows will get any better. In fact, we're likely to be inundated with a flood of 'high-def' shows that are simply that and not much more, a nice way to show off that new DLP set and that's about it. The networks and MSOs are eager to build their libraries of high-def shows. We just hope that content triumphs over technology in the long run.

Visit Panasonic for more information and all the specs on the HVX200.

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