The Future Of Digital Media? Panasonic's P2 Series Leaves Tape In The Dust

Panasonic has developed a new series of image capturing devices and cameras based the new P2 Card. The card is designed as a high performance memory card with higher storage capacities of standard cards. The cards effectively render the need for bulky and delicate tapes stock unnecessary. The card currently supports DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, and DVCPROHD video formats with plans for larger memory card sizes up to 128GB. According to Panasonic:

Based on the worldwide success of its SD Memory Card, Panasonic is set to further revolutionize news gathering with the P2 Card (Professional Plug-in 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 (ENG) will hit the markets.

The P2 Card can be used countless times, without any effect on quality whatsoever. 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, material 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.

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 GB 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!

You can find more information about the P2 series of hardware at the Panasonic Web site.

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