Yenra : Digital Video : Panasonic P2 : Tapeless digital video recording professional plug-in card format expected to soon reach 128 gigabyte storage capacity


Based on the worldwide success of its SD Memory Card, Panasonic is set to further revolutionize news gathering with the P2 Card. The new system records audio and video signals in the DVCPRO format directly onto a P2 Card. The next step is camcorders and AC-independent editing systems that operate without tape mechanisms or optical disk drives. And in 2004, the first maintenance-free professional equipment for electronic news gathering will hit the markets.

The experts are already excited about ING (IT news gathering), which will enable post-processing on networks of original P2 Card data at speeds that have never before been achieved. The new P2 Camcorder has a planned WLAN Card slot, which will allow seamless transfer of compressed video signals for browsing applications. The new P2 concept is a seamless extension of Panasonic's format philosophy for its world-renowned DVCPRO video format. Problem-free integration with the DVCPRO-based IT-news systems and migration into tape-free recording media were important criteria in the development of P2.

The first P2 Cards, with exactly the same dimensions as the usual PCMCIA card, have a capacity of 4 gigabytes. In a way, the card is simply the casing for the storage media itself -- the SD Memory Card. Its current storage capacity amounts to 18 minutes of DVCPRO material.

The P2 Card can be used countless times, without any effect on quality. It has no mechanical parts, so recording media remain unaffected by extremes of temperature, moisture, and dust. In contrast, conventional video often exhibits problems when it meets its limits. Unlike tape recordings, data saved on P2 Cards does not need to be digitized for further processing. When a card is inserted in the notebook's PCMCIA slot, the software automatically recognizes the data stored. With direct access possibilities, fast forward, rewind, and copying are also unnecessary. The P2 transfer rate of 640 Mbps is much higher than that of optical disks or hard disk drives.

The change from conventional cassettes to P2 Cards can easily be accomplished step by step. Due to the standardized data rate based on DV, the signals are compatible with each other. The P2 news system not only records at the DVCPRO standard, but also at DVCPRO50 and DVCPROHD data rates. This respectively halves and quarters the amount of data and the subsequent recording times.

Because of the rapid achievement of ever-higher storage capacities, the amount of data that can be stored will soon increase to many times present levels. P2 Cards with up to 128 gigabyte storage capacity are no longer considered just a dream for the future. Soon such a card will enable 144 minutes of DVCPROHD signals (100 Mbps) to be recorded uninterrupted on a single P2 Card. At a data rate of 25 Mbps (DVCPRO), the recording time will total 576 minutes or almost 10 hours. The SD Memory Card has the highest rate of growth and greatest market share of any data storage card. With continuously failing prices it is now used in a wide range of multi-media applications. These days, it is impossible to imagine digital photography without it.