Look, we're on the box


By Barry Fox in Amsterdam A NEW microchip will make it easy for television stations to show home video footage. The chip, developed by Silicon Valley based C-Cube Microsystems, converts the format used by digital camcorders into that used by broadcasters. Many TV stations are switching to the format called MPEG-2 in preparation for digital broadcasting. But the latest digital camcorders use the incompatible digital video (DV) format. This means that TV stations cannot easily mix normal news footage with video footage shot by amateurs who happen to be on the spot when news breaks. Sony’s professional TV equipment uses a variant of the MPEG-2 compression system adopted for digital TV, which streams data at 50 megabits per second. Meanwhile Sony’s rival, Panasonic, sells a professional version of the DV format that streams data at either 25 or 50 megabits per second. But consumer DV camcorders all record at 25 megabits per second. C-Cube’s chip can accept data in any of these DV formats and convert it into MPEG-2,
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