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Information Today, Inc.

October 08, 2007

Table of Contents

Sony HD: First Hands-On Looks at the XDCAM EX and HD1000U
Focus Enhancements Adds FS-100 160GB Recorder to DTE Model Lineup, Lengthens Record Time by 60%
SmartSound Releases Customizable Versions of Classic TV and Film Music from EMI Music Publishing Catalog for Home Video Use
M-Audio Ships IE-40 Professional Reference Earphones
Marantz Professional Introduces the New PMD620 Handheld Compact Field Digital Recorder
Enhance Technology Releases T4H CR FireWire/USB/eSATA Portable RAID Desktop Storage
Dulce Systems introduces the PRO DQ
Granite Digital Ships USB to IDE/SATA Drive Bridge Adapter

Sony HD: First Hands-On Looks at the XDCAM EX and HD1000U

At a recent event held at Sony Pictures in NYC, Sony treated the press to a hands-on experience with their XDCAM EX and HD1000U camcorders. Both can record HDV, but the similarities end there.

The HD1000U is an on-shoulder re-design of a consumer HDV camcorder. It records HDV or DV (SP and LP) to a MiniDV tape. There are only a few buttons to control camcorder functions. Instead, the HD1000u takes a page from the consumer division and uses a single touchscreen LCD to access nearly all the camcorder's ablities.

The HD1000u features a new, unique combination LCD viewfinder/LCD screen. It also has a single rotating ring around the lens that can be set to control any of seven different camcorder functions, including focus, zoom, shutter, brightness, and auto-exposure shift. The larger body of the HD1000U allows Sony to do away with the specialized cables and offer standard RCA jacks for audio, video, and component video output. It has HDMI video, USB, 4-pin Firewire, headphone, LANC, power, and a 1/8" stereo microphone input. The HD1000u also has a MemoryStick slot to record 6.1 MP stills in photo mode or 4.6 MP stills while shooting video. It has the capability to shoot high-speed video for true slow motion effects, although at reduced resolution and without sound.

The HDCAM EX camocrder is a highlight of Sony's new HDNA (HD in their DNA) marketing campaign. Although it is part of their new XDCAM lineup, it is not optical-disc based. Sony does not feel the XDCAM moniker is limited to optical media. The EX line uses new, specialized ExpressCard media called SxS (S by S) which have the highest throughput capability of any flash media to date.

The EX camcorder can record in two data rates: an HDV-compliant 25Mbps CBR data stream, and an IMX-based 35Mbps VBR data stream. It can record HDV at 1440x1080, and HD at 1280x720 and 1920x1080 in numerous frame rates, including 23.98, 25, 29.97, 50 59.94. It features three 1/2" sensors with 1020x1080 resolution and very good f10 sensitivity. Sony touts a resolution of 1000 TV lines. It does not seem to offer a true 24p recording system. Rather, it uses an internal 2:3 pulldown and records 60i. Record times are calculated to be 50 minutes with 35Mbps VBR and 70 minutes with 25Mbps CBR video, on a single 16GB SxS card.

One nice feature is that it will allow the end user to mount the SxS media on their computer desktop over a Firewire connection, enabling faster-than-real-time transfer. This is great for desktop users who can't take advantage of direct ExpressCard capability. However, that connectivity requires a driver to recognize the Sony SxS media. This probably means that you can't just use any ExpressCard flash media; it has to be licensed and have the proper internal codes to work.

My brief hands-on with the EX camcorder was one of discovery. Sony's handheld form factor undergoes another evolutional development with a new LCD design, rearrangement of manual controls, and a unique push-pull manual-auto focus system on the lens barrel. SDI out, rotating grip, shot transition, user-assignable buttons, cascading media capability, and lack of a LANC port round out the notable new features.

Handheld weight balance was very good and the camcorder was not as heavy as it looks, even though it is bulkier than similarly sized HDV camcorders.

The menu system is very deep, and one model offered individual color correction and painting capability. Price for the EX was quoted as "under $8,000" which means a $7,999 list, and we can maybe expect street prices to be in the $6,995 range.

Anthony Burokas runs IEBA Communications (www.ieba.com) in Philadelphia and is HD Today columnist for EventDV.

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Focus Enhancements Adds FS-100 160GB Recorder to DTE Model Lineup, Lengthens Record Time by 60%

Focus Enhancements, Inc. (NASDAQ: FCSE), a worldwide leader in media management and Ultra Wideband (UWB) wireless technology, announced the latest addition to the FS-100 Portable Direct to Edit® (DTE) Recorder lineup. The new FS-100 160GB model sets a new standard for long-form DVCPRO HD recording with up to 6.5 hours of recording in 720p24PN mode, 5.25 hours in 720p25/30PN mode or 2.5 hours in full frame rate 720p/1080i mode. With the introduction of the FS-100 160GB, Panasonic P2 camera/recorder owners now have a solution that combines the outstanding quality of DVCPRO HD with ultra-long record times.

"We have received numerous requests for extended record times from Panasonic DVCPRO HD P2 camera/recorder owners," said Matt McEwen, senior product manager for Focus Enhancements. "In response we created the new FS-100 160GB model, which records up to 6.5 hours—a length which was previously not economically viable for those using DVCPRO HD."

The new FS-100 160GB model joins the lower capacity FS-100 100GB model, which will continue to be available. Both models are shipping with the recently released version 4.0 firmware. In addition to P2 and QuickTime DTE recording, version 4.0 offers the following new features for FS-100 users:

  • Support for 720p PN record mode, which more than doubles available DVCPRO HD record times
  • PN variable frame rate (VFR) recording, which delivers stunning slow motion and fast motion effects
  • QuickTime Reference Movie support, which enables long record sequences to appear as a single file.

The FS-100 160GB model is available now through authorized Panasonic resellers for a US MSRP of $2,495. The FS-100 100GB model is available for a US MSRP of $1,995.


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SmartSound Releases Customizable Versions of Classic TV and Film Music from EMI Music Publishing Catalog for Home Video Use

SmartSound Software, Inc., the leading provider of music and scoring technology for film and video professionals, today announced the launch of four new customizable music libraries featuring all original music from the film and television catalog of EMI Music Publishing, one of the world's largest music publishers. Each track is licensed for unlimited use in home movies and is encoded to work with SmartSound-enabled applications, including many leading video editing software products. This nostalgic music combined with SmartSound's patented technology allows users to set the music into any length scene and listen to all possible arrangements that have a musical beginning and ending fit exactly to the scene.

Each library includes ten tracks. They can be purchased directly from SmartSound at www.smartsound.com/moviemusic for $39.95 each or just $99 for all four discs as a set. New EMI Music Publishing libraries announced by SmartSound are:

  • EMI TV Classics - Memorable music from favorite TV shows of the 1960s and 1970s. Includes music from such popular shows as Batman, Bewitched, The Avengers, and Lost in Space.
  • EMI Wars & Westerns - Stirring music from some of the most intense and action-packed Hollywood movies, including Glory, How the West Was Won, and For a Few Dollars More.
  • EMI Epics & Thrillers - Spine-tingling, spellbinding music from some of the biggest movies in film history, including North by Northwest, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
  • EMI Movie Classics - A diverse collection of music from major Hollywood productions, including Ben-Hur, Ghostbusters, and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

"These timeless classics are part of the history and memories of practically every family across America," said Jovanka Ciares, EMI Music Publishing Director of Music Services. "We're always pleased to be able to link up with services such as that offered by SmartSound to allow consumers to use these songs to soundtrack their lives in an easy and fun way."

SmartSound technology powers the music creation component of video editing suites used by millions of consumers, including the recent inclusion of SmartSound in Roxio Easy Media Creator 10. SmartSound has also been bundled or integrated into video editing software from companies including Avid, Adobe, CyberLink, Pinnacle and Ulead.

"Partnering with EMI Music Publishing strengthens our existing library of world-class music for consumer video," said Kevin Klingler, president and CEO of SmartSound Software, Inc. "As a former Hollywood composer, I know that this is some of the greatest music ever created for film and television. Consumers are going to have a great time adding custom-fit versions of these classics into their home movies."


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M-Audio Ships IE-40 Professional Reference Earphones

M-Audio®, a division of Avid Technology, Inc., a leading provider of creative tools for computer-centric musicians, is proud to announce the availability of the new IE-40 high-definition professional reference earphones. Featuring patented Ultimate Ears™ triple-driver technology, the IE-40 reference earphones build on the success of M-Audio’s popular IE™ series by continuing to make Ultimate Ears reference earphones technology accessible to a wider audience.

The IE-40 professional earphones deliver the finest audio fidelity available. This superb fidelity is achieved through the use of three separate high-definition, precision-balanced armature drivers for high, mid and low frequencies. Armature drivers—the same technology used in Ultimate Ears’ premium custom earphones—deliver extended high frequencies, clear, precise mid-tones and superb natural bass. In addition, they are significantly smaller and more accurate than comparable dynamic drivers. The IE-40 reference earphones’ audio crossover network routes each frequency to the appropriate high, mid or low driver—exactly the same principle used in the finest studio monitor design.

The IE-40 professional reference earphones also incorporate Ultimate Ears’ proprietary dual-bore design to deliver a wider sound stage through separate acoustic canals for high and low channels—thus allowing the sound to mix naturally in the ear itself. In contrast, multi-driver, single-bore designs mix the highs and lows inside the earphone, which narrows the sound, creates audible turbulence and ultimately lowers musical fidelity.

The IE-40 earphones provide 26dB of sound isolation. This greatly diminishes outside noise to deliver a purer listening experience—without the loss of sonic detail that occurs with noise-cancellation technology. Sound isolation also helps protect the ear by allowing the user to hear critical musical nuances at lower volumes. The included universal fit kit features an assortment of foam and silicone tips, allowing users to customize the fit to insure optimal isolation and comfort for hours of listening. The replaceable 46" cable enhances the longevity of this precision instrument and features professional, shapeable over-ear loops that help prevent cable snags. The IE-40 professional reference earphone package includes a ¼" adapter, protective metal carrying case, flexible attenuator/limiter, cleaning tool and user guide.

As with the entire M-Audio IE line, the IE-40 professional reference earphones employ patented Ultimate Ears technology to deliver an unparalleled personal listening experience. With the same triple-driver architecture, dual-bore design and sonic signature as Ultimate Ears’ renowned custom monitors, the IE-40 earphones provide a premium solution that fits any ear at less than half the price.

"Through our partnership with Ultimate Ears, M-Audio has brought professional quality and tremendous value to reference earphones across a wide range of budgets," says Adam Castillo, M-Audio’s marketing director. "Thanks to their triple-driver, dual-bore design, the IE-40 reference earphones raise the bar once again, delivering simply the best fidelity available in this type of product short of investing significantly more in custom models."

The IE-40 reference earphones are currently shipping and carry an USMSRP of $499.95.


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Marantz Professional Introduces the New PMD620 Handheld Compact Field Digital Recorder

D&M Professional, manufacturer of the renowned Marantz® Professional PMD® series of professional recording products, is introducing the new PMD620 Hand-Held Digital Compact Recorder. Marantz Professional has developed the PMD620 to provide advanced functionality in a smaller, more convenient configuration that will reach into new markets, including the professional audio and MI markets, further emphasizing D&M's ongoing commitment to supplying customers with market-driven product solutions.

The PMD620 is Marantz Professional's newest and smallest handheld portable recorder -- it fits easily in a hand or in a pocket, but packs quite a punch for its size. The PMD620 offers direct to MP3 recording in three quality levels, as well as fully uncompressed, CD-quality 44.1/48 kHz .wav format in 16 or 24-bit resolution, allowing the user to configure the PMD620 for a wide variety of applications, from extended-length voice recordings to high-quality music applications. Sound quality is enhanced by the inclusion of two condenser microphones on the PMD620, as well as line and external mic inputs, and an external mic output.

The new PMD620 also utilizes the SD flash memory card for data storage, a first for the PMD Series of recorders. SD (secure digital) is a highly stable and the most widely available flash media format, so users will have ready access to very cost-effective data storage. Additionally, the PMD620 accepts memory cards of high capacity (up to 2-TB 2048 gigabytes).

Incorporating user feedback from across the PMD Series spectrum, the new PMD620 sports several new layout enhancements making for a simpler and more confident experience. The PMD620 offers one-touch record engagement using a button with its own tactile feel and red highlight illumination. The unit's transport controls will be familiar to users of personal portable music devices, and incorporates a thumb-operated scroll wheel and a vivid organic LED (OLED) display screen, one of the first in the industry, which uses very little power to illuminate, thus extending the unit's battery life. (The PMD620 is powered by two AA batteries.) The display's black background means that all alpha-numerics and function icons are always crisp and easy to read. The screen is also configurable thanks to two font sizes, allowing more information on the screen with the smaller font and highly readable key information with the larger one. These are just a few of the ways in which the PMD620 crosses market sector lines, making it the choice of the executive suite and the iPod® generation, as well as the educators, journalists and broadcast professionals who have been the core markets for the PMD Series.

The PMD620 also offers editing capabilities that constitute a field recorder truly in a class by itself. Included in the firmware is "Copy Segment" editing, which uses non-destructive cut-and-paste-style editing to create a new sound file, which can be up/downloaded via the built-in USB port. Another menu feature, "Skip Back," allows transcribers the ability to review recorded audio from 1 to 60 previous seconds. And the PMD620's USB 2.0 port allows effortless drag-and-drop transfer of files to a PC. In fact, as powerful and feature-laden as it is, the PMD620 is simple to operate. "Level" and "Peak" LEDs let you know the status of your input signal, and you can toggle between four displays screens that provide elapsed time, time remaining and other key data.

Commenting on the new PMD620, Peter Papageorge, Director of Sales for D&M Professional, stated, "The new PMD620 is intended to add yet another dimension to Marantz Professional's family of portable digital recorders. It incorporates many of the same features we developed for the highly successful PMD660 and adds to them, at the same time achieving them in a significantly smaller sized unit. This combination of power, portability and size means the PMD620 will offer a greater number of users and markets a more flexible field recording experience."

The new PMD620 will be available in November.


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Enhance Technology Releases T4H CR FireWire/USB/eSATA Portable RAID Desktop Storage

Enhance Technology, Inc., a leading developer of hybrid I/O storage systems and products for digital life style today releases a new range of 4-disk, FireWire800-based RAID solutions with quad-interface (FW800/FW400/USB2.0/eSATA) connectivity and user-selectable data protection. Available in compact desktop models, the EnhanceRAID™ T4H CR series is specifically designed to address storage and reliability concerns of video surveillance project working with high resolution digital media recording.

The new T4H CR combo RAID product line benefits from the same award-winning RAID technology found in the company’s flagship storage arrays, providing greater reliability, data integrity and performance. An easy-to-use control panel provides complete, real-time control over system parameters including RAID settings and disk status. FireWire RAID allow users to get the most out any DVR, DAW, editing system, or PC or Mac station by offering capacity, performance & redundancy options simply not available in standard FireWire drives.

The portable EnhanceRAID™ T4H CR is a sleek and cost effective stand-alone USB2.0, FireWire 400/800 & eSATA Combo desktop RAID storage allows instant connectivity to any Mac & PC workstations that targets at various user levels such as digital content creators, game designers and SMB database managers. EnhanceRAID™ T4H CR, designed for today’s portability lifestyle, comes with a stylish "H" shaped handle for easy carrying and convenience. Featuring a small-print aluminum sub-compact tower design, T4H CR is a user friendly desktop RAID storage array that comes with removable disk trays, individual disk key-locks, front secured door, hot-swappable cooling fan, and user selectable RAID settings.

With built-in OS transparent RAID engine and easy to use front LCD configuration panel, EnhanceRAID™ T4H CR safeguards your data with hardware RAID 5 protection and four (4) hot-swappable & removable HDD trays which meets IT professionals, advanced gamers, security surveillance and savvy audio editors for performance and reliability. A user-selectable RAID controller provides access to quick configuration modes including RAID-0 for performance or redundant RAID-5 protection. EnhanceRAID™ T4H CR is available from Enhance Technology or through local dealers worldwide.


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Dulce Systems introduces the PRO DQ

Dulce Systems announces the immediate availability of the PRO DQ, a disk storage solution bundle that is the fastest storage solution in its class. Running in the RAID disk redundancy protection modes, an 8TB PRO DQ performs up to 570 MB/s in RAID 3/5 protected mode and even with the latest RAID 6 double disk protection mode the PRO DQ outshines other less protected RAID storage products at a breathtaking rate of 460 MB/s. If all out data rate speed is desired, the PRO DQ breaks the record at 660 MB/s in the RAID 0 performance mode.

Dulce Systems offers the PRO DQ in a range of capacities that are suited to a well balanced price and performance scale. PRO DQ capacity offerings start at 2TB, and incrementally scale up to 8TB. All PRO DQ’s are supplied with eight 7200 RPM SATA II 3GB/s disk drives housed in a stylish dark, shiny, brushed aluminum enclosure that provides temperature and fan management, a PCI-e x8 ultra high performance RAID controller, and a pair of robust Quad Channel SATA II interface cables with clip lock security.

The PRO DQ is compatible with Apple’s Final Cut Studio, Adobe’s Premiere Pro and other popular editors and creation applications, the PRO DQ is specially designed for video editing professionals with guaranteed real-time access for multi-stream un-compressed HD, SD, DVCPRO HD, HDV, DV as well as Apple’s ProRes 422 video resolutions. Unlike other competitive RAID products whose performance degrades in the event of a drive failure, the PRO DQ delivers uninterrupted real-time performance, even during a drive rebuild.

The PRO DQ is loaded with user selectable options, a large selection of RAID levels from simple performance striping in RAID 0, mirroring in RAID 1, efficient redundant disk protection in RAID 3 and 5, double redundant disk RAID 6, JBOD, and all with hot spare options that eliminate the need for user intervention in the event of a disk drive failure.

Additional features include RAID migration, and e-mail event notification.

When additional storage is required, the PRO DQ is also expandable using the Dulce PRO EX Expander Switch option which will be available in the 4th quarter of 2007.

The PRO DQ is available through a network of domestic and international distributors and resellers. Visit Dulce Systems at http://www.dulcesystems.com.

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Granite Digital Ships USB to IDE/SATA Drive Bridge Adapter

Granite Digital, a leading manufacturer of FireWire, SATA, SCSI, and USB storage solutions, cables, and diagnostic tools, today announced it has begun shipping a USB 2.0 Bridge Adapter that connects to any IDE, or SATA Hard Drive making it easy to recovery, copy, or duplicate data in an emergency. The USB Bridge Adapter includes a Universal Power Supply with Switched Dual Outputs for any IDE or SATA Hard Drive, CD, DVD, or Optical Mechanism.

The kit includes: USB 2.0 to IDE/SATA Bridge Adapter, Universal Dual Output SATA and IDE Switched Power Outputs, 4 Pin Adapter Patch Cable, and AC Power Supply IEC Cable.

"This USB to IDE/SATA Bridge is the perfect tool for any person that works with computers" stated Frank Gabrielli, President of Granite Digital. "When problems with drives occur this USB Bridge Adapter can save the day. More importantly it is designed to work with all drive types, both SATA and IDE mechanisms are supported. Its small size makes it easy to carry around and the triple connectors guarantees connectivity."

Additional information can be found here.

Supports ATA6 specifications and Hard Drives up to 700GB, CD, DVD, and Tape Mechanisms. Fast USB 2.0 support for 480 Mbit/s fast data transfers.


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