Tapeless Recording Media Storage Capacity Grows

"Tapeless acquisition systems continue to improve, providing more capacity and faster transfer rates in the same form factor.

There’s new word that Panasonic has increased the capacity of its P2 cards to 32 GB and Sony now offers a dual-layer blue-laser optical media disc. And, working with Iomega, Thomson’s Grass Valley REV Pro media is also rumored to be available in larger capacity cartridges soon. When all of this new data-storage media is available (only the new optical disc is currently), each system will offer more than twice the record time of a year ago.

Panasonic’s new 32 GB P2 solid-state memory card (model AJ-P2C032RG) will be available in November carrying a suggested list price of $1,650. A 16 GB P2 card ($900 list) has been shipping since May. With five 32GB P2 cards installed, the AJ-HPX3000 and HPX2000 P2 HD camcorders can record for up to 2.5 hours (over 3 hours in 24p) in AVC-Intra 100 or DVCPRO HD compression and 5 hours (over 6.5 hours in 24p) using the built-in AVC-Intra 50 or DVCPRO 50 codec.

Panasonic said the 32 GB card is fully compatible with the current 16 GB P2 card, so users who’ve upgraded their P2 products and computer system for 16 GB operation (a free firmware download) can use the 32 GB cards. P2 users who haven’t completed this upgrade must do so before using the 32 GB cards.

The 16 GB P2 card is compatible with all AG-HPX500 recorders and with AG-HVX200 camcorders carrying a serial number beginning with E7xxx0001. The 16 GB card is also compatible with AJ-PCD20 drives beginning with the serial number E7xxx0001.

At $60 per disc, Sony’s new dual-layer version of the XDCAM Professional Disc media more than doubles the storage capacity (from 23.3 to 50 GB) and recording capabilities of the original single-layer optical media.

The new dual-layer disc, model PFD50DLA, gives users up to four hours and 30 minutes of HD recording when shooting in MPEG HD 4:2:0 mode at 18 Mbps, or 3 hours and 20 minutes at 25 Mbps and 2 hours and 30 minutes at 35 Mbps. (It also captures in DVCAM mode, 25 Mbps, where shooters get about 3 hours and 10 minutes). The PFD50DLA media works with the Sony PDW-F355L XDCAM HD camcorder, PDW-F75 deck and PDW-U1 drive unit. It will not work with first-generation XDCAM SD or HD equipment.

Meanwhile, Sony announced that its PMW-EX1 XDCAM EX camcorder (which was previewed in prototype form in April) will also ship in November, recording to two solid-state Sony SxS flash memory cards. The new HD camcorder can accommodate two cards (an 8 GB card ships with the camera and a 16 GB will be available soon). The SxS memory cards, to be available through Sony or SanDisk, are provided in the PCIExpress form factor (not the PCMCIA format used in the Panasonic P2) with 800 Mbps data-transfer capability.

Company reps said they’re still unsure how many cards will ship with the camera, but two 8 GB SxS cards (at $500 each) offer about 90 minutes of record time at 25 Mbps and 45 minutes at 35 Mbps. The 16 GB cards (listed at $900 a piece) offer 140 minutes at 25 Mbps and 100 minutes at 35 Mbps.

Sony said the PCI Express card slot found in most new laptops and desktop computers will obsolete the PCMCIA card, and even offered a quote from a website that warns developers the format will not be supported going forward.

As for Thomson, production models of the Grass Valley Infinity camcorders will begin shipping soon, so demand for more storage than what the current 35 GB version (about 45 minutes of 1080i HD at 75 Mbps; more than two hours in 25 Mbps HDV), offers will be certain. The REV Pro disk cartridge costs about $70."

Source: HD Studio