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Hot off the Press - News
Monday April 19, 2004 by Chuck Brown, Assoc. Editor

Apple and Matsushita Partnership moves into HDTV
An exclusive report MacCentral missed.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.(Panansonic) reported Monday that it and Apple Computer Inc. have co-developed a new low-cost editing system for high-definition television broadcasts.

Apple’s share of the system pie is obviously a customized version of Final Cut Pro HD which when installed with the new Matsushita's video tape recorder on a Macintosh desktop G5 computer, controls the complete editing function. Apple unveiled the latest version of Final Cut Pro HD, its editing software which supports broadcast-quality HD video at NAB in Las Vegas this last weekend.

Also unveiled for Final Cut Pro HD was new special effects software called Motion (a new product for Apple), which at a comparatively low cost to rival technology could change the market for video editing, now dominated by developers like Adobe and AVID.

At the hardware heart of this new Matsushita-Apple system is a broadcasting-use digital video camera which uses flash memory chips rather than tapes for storing recorded video material. Matsushita said nine broadcasters in four countries have decided to use its memory-card based professional video product "DVCPRO P2" series launched earlier this month and that they expects to deliver 2,000 units of the camera in 2004, including trial usage.

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A Matsushita spokesman in Osaka, Japan, said the exact launch date for the new editing system hasn’t been set as of this moment; but that broadcasters which will use the P2 series include Media General Inc. and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. of the U.S., as well as
France's RFO or Reseau France Outremer.

Twelve other broadcasters in six nations - including CBS Corp. and Raycom Media in the U.S., and BBC and Reuters Group Plc in the U.K. , have agreed to team up with Matsushita on the development of TV broadcast production systems based on the P2 series, Matsushita further reported.

It’s fairly clear that Matsushita aims to take on Sony Corp., the world's leading supplier of professional broadcasting systems and that Apple wants to further take a big chuck out of once collaborative applications developer Adobe and AVID. This will likely deepen that somewhat public rif between Apple and Adobe, who has already dropped further development on Premier and many other Mac OS based video editing applications.

The good thing on the Apple side is that this low cost system may spur some needed G5 sales in Apples continuing consumer sales slide. Since video editing at broadcast level is a pretty niche market, it won’t add much to Apple’s over-all declining computer market share.



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