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Working together

At the behest of NBC, Panasonic and Snell & Wilcox have come together to develop technology that enables interoperability between DVCPRO and MPEG compression-based tools, while avoiding compatibility issues and picture-quality loss. The network was looking for a bridge between the two to facilitate production efficiency.

Like many other broadcasters, NBC has chosen Panasonic's DVCPRO for news-gathering and editing and MPEG for contribution feeds, transmission and storage.

The "intraframe" compression approach of DVCPRO makes for easy and cost-effective program production, while the "long-GOP" compression scheme of MPEG offers highly efficient contribution, storage and transmission.

According to those involved, the network asked engineers at Panasonic and Snell & Wilcox to create a bridge that would enable it to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Their approach preserves the MPEG MOLE data (pioneered by Snell & Wilcox) in transcoding to DVCPRO 50. MPEG recoding data is defined in the SMPTE 327M standard and provides substantial improvement to MPEG multi-generational performance.

MPEG recoding data can be transported as additional metadata through current 50-Mb/s DVCPRO 50 products. This subjectively eliminates multi-generation losses and provides DVCPRO users with the option of using MPEG compression for their storage requirements without fear of image degradation.