Next Generation Storage Technologies Abound At NAB 2009

Like cameras at this years NAB there was a ton of recording technologies. Almost extinct are VTR’s as file base recording has become mainstream across the board. This blog post looks at some of the storage technologies that I came across at NAB 2009.


Fraunhofer was showing their MicroStorage device in combination with their microHDTV camera. This new small HD broadcast storage device employs commercial Compact Flash Cards and is suited for point-of-view cameras. The MicroStorage device records HD or SD image data in H.264 high profile L4.0 format and has a power consumption of 5 watts.

HDTV MicroStorage System

HDTV MicroStorage System




The AJA Ki Pro is a new tapeless video recording device that records high-quality Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files onto computer-friendly media. The unit features SD/HD-SDI, HDMI, and analog inputs so one can interface with virtually any type of camera one might own or rent.

AJA Video recorder has removable solid-state media that captures QuickTime files using Apple’s10-bit ProRes 422 compression schemenatively in hardware. This makes the files instantly recognized within a Final Cut Pro timeline so editing can begin immediately with no transcoding.

The Ki Pro records hours of media to a removable a storage module, has a built in FireWire 800 interface or to a 34mm ExpressCard Flash. The Ki Pro Features;

  • Record hours of pristine ProRes media to a removable storage module with built-in FireWire 800, or to 34mm Expresscard Flash, for immediate editing and file access.
  • Record natively to Apple ProRes 422 for full raster 10-bit 4:2:2 HD and SD.
  • Bridge proprietary compression schemes by recording to Apple ProRes 422.
  • Connect any digital camera via SDI or HDMI, or any analog camera with multiple input options
  • Convert in real time from SD to HD, or 720 to/from 1080, in full 10-bit quality.
  • Extend client review capabilities with simultaneous recording to camera and to Ki Pro.
  • Extend productive life of existing cameras and embrace future workflows with powerful conversion capabilities.
  • Built-in WiFi and Ethernet for complete control via a web-browser, or iPhone.

Video below from AJA’s product manager;

Hoodman RAW SxSxSDHC (Secure Digital) Memory Adapter For Express Port

Hoodman RAW SxSxSDHC Memory Adapter

Hoodman RAW SxSxSDHC Memory Adapter

This is another useful product. The RAW SxSxSDHCtm Alternative Memory Adapter for Sony® SxS Applications allows one to use SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) memory cards to store data. Download data through express card port or eject SDHC card and place in SDHC to USB reader.

Panasonic – Low-Priced ‘E Series’ P2 Cards

Lower Cost P2 Media from Panasonic

Lower Cost P2 Media from Panasonic - Fast But Lower Life Expectancy

Low-priced P2 media was introduced by Panasonic at NAB. Called the P2 E Series a 64 GB will list for just $998 when it ships in August. Compare that to the $1650 fetched by current 32 GB P2 cards. A 32 GB and a 16 GB E-Series P2 card are expected to ship next month, with $625 and $420 price tags, respectively.

While the newer cards are very fast they are rated for a shorter lifetime of about five years of daily use. As the cards approach the end of their reliable life cycle, a warning will appear on the screen of the P2 camera or card reader. Panasonic’s P2 formatter software will also track an E-series card’s life expectancy.

Avid – Qualifies Final Cut Pro

In another move towoards interoperability Avid, who returned to NAB this year, announced that it has  qualified Apples Final Cut Pro Editing tool to operate on its Unity MediaNetwork and ISIS [Infinitely Scalable Intelligent Storage] shared storage systems.

Flash Memory Recorders At NAB

Below are a number of Flash Memory Recorders that I saw at NAB.

Solid State Drives – iodrive from fusion I/O

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This solid state drive uses NAND flash and boast speeds hundreds of times faster that of hard drives. The video above shows how much throughput can occur with Solid State Drives using Fusion I/O. The video shows how they have the ability to playback 256 simultaneous DVD streams. The video below is a promo and demonstrates how they can be ganged together to increase SSD’s throughput.

Toshiba - On-Air Max

Toshiba - On-Air Max

Convergent Design - Flash XDR

Convergent Design - Flash XDR

Ikegami GFSeries of Tapeless HD Flash Memory Production Tools

Ikegami GFSeries of Tapeless HD Flash Memory Production Tools

Nexto Video Storage

Nexto Video Storage

Hard Drive Storage

Even with all of the Flash based recorders, hard drives are still the workhorse of storage. With the emergence of inexpensive SATA drives, RAID recoding schemes have become mainstream technology. The next few posts look at hard drive based systems and LTO based data archive systems that I saw at NAB.

Cal Digit – VR Mini

The CalDigit VR mini

The CalDigit VR mini

The CalDigit VR mini is a compact two drive RAID system, supporting a quadruple interface –FireWire 400/800, USB 2.0 and eSATA– for easy connectivity for video professionals. The CalDigit VR mini’s modular design provides two removable drive modules and an easy to read frontside LCD. Users can set their system as RAID 0, 1, and JBOD the VR mini can reach speeds fast enough for high definition video editing. It includes easy to use software allowing for firmware updates, configuration, and monitoring which even supports email notification.

Lacie Eithernet Drives

LaCie 5big Network

LaCie 5big Network

If you want a bigger network based system Lacie’s 5big Network is a five-bay RAID solution for small and medium workgroups or offices that need large storage and backup capacity. It offers capacities up to 7.5TB (7500GB) and employs a versatile hot-swap feature. Users can set the 5big to seven different RAID modes including RAID 5 and RAID 6.




CitiDISK™ HD is a recorder that connects directly to camcorders and captures footage to its miniature high-capacity hard drive and to tape simultaneously. This interconnect is from the camera’s FireWire port and it converst the files into Quicktime or AVI files of your choice. It handles DVCPRO HD®, DVCPRO50® and DV footage. Through its “QPLAY” feature it can playback the last scenes on a cameras viewfinder.

Fast Forward Video

Elete HD

Elete HD

FFV introduced five DVR products at NAB this year. The Elite HD camera-mounted DVR and player accepts an incoming HD-SDI video signal with eight channels of embedded audio and records at data rates up to 100Mb/s with 4:2:2 sampling and 10-bit quantization with near-lossless J2K compression. Elite HD records video on hot-swappable 2.5″ SATA drives. Once the camera input is captured, the drive can be removed and footage imported into any editing system via USB. Other introductions included the Omega HD DVR and portable Mini DVR Pro, NDT200 and eClips DVRs.

Focus Enhancements FS5 Direct-to-edit Recorder


Focus Enhancements introduced a Version 2.0 upgrade for their FS-5 Direct To Edit™ Recorder. New features include – Video file playback, proxy and thumbnail feature, metadata support for Avid users and extensive multi-camera functionality.

Cache-a – LTO Network Archive Appliance

Cache-a LTO Network Archive Appliance

NAB also saw the introduction of a new  LTO-4 A-Series drive that will  provide fast file transfers over Gigabit Ethernet. The speed of those file transfers are at estimated data rates up to 50MB/s or more.

BRU Producer’s Edition

I also got a glimpse of the BRU Producer’s Edition™ from TOLIS Group. It allows for drag and drop archiving to networked based LTO archiving systems.

HP StorageWorks Ultrium 960 Tape Drive

HP LTO System

HP LTO System

HP Was also showing their LTO StorageWorks Ultrium 960 tape drives. The product is their third generation LTO technology which delivers a capacity of 800 GB of compressed data on a single cartridge and has a data transfer rate of 576 GB per hour in compressed mode.




One other product I saw was PoolIT from Tiger Technology. It’s a software overlay that consolidates storage by aggregating multiple volumes into one.


Samsung Solid State Drives In Action – Talk About Speed

This Samsung marketing video is definitely worth a watch. Wait until you see the awesome computer they construct to build an 24 piece SSD raid. It opens all of Microsoft Office in less than a second and rips a DVD in no time….

And wait until you see the SSD bean jumping contest…. Awesome video… Awesome technology….


Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Samsung Solid State Drives In Action …“, posted with vodpod

SSD’s Are Here! Solid State Drive Speed And Market Adoption

Samsung Electronics announced that it has developed the world’s fastest, 2.5-inch, 256 Gigabyte (GB) multi-level cell (MLC) based solid state drive (SSD) using a SATA II interface. It’s also the thinnest drive with the largest capacity to be offered with a SATA II interface.What marks this SSD is t’s speed. With a sequential read speed of 200 megabytes per second (MB/s) and sequential write speed of 160MB/s, Samsung’s MLC-based 2.5-inch 256GB SSD is about 2.4 times faster than a typical HDD.

According to a Q1 2008 report by the semiconductor market research firm iSuppli, the SSD market will grow at an annualized average of 124 percent during the four-year period from 2008 until 2012. iSuppli now projects SSD sales to increase by an additional 35 percent in 2009 over what it projected last year, 51 percent more in 2010, and 89 percent more in 2011, and continue to show dramatic increases in subsequent years.

More On Blu-Ray, HD-DVD and Solid State Drives

Why Blu-Ray May Not Be All That Great

In Larry Jordan’s latest Final Cut Pro Newsletter he notes the sudden shift toward Blu-Ray DVDs. He notes that “while Blu-Ray may be good for Hollywood, it won’t be good for small independent producers“. He notes that this is due to the hidden fees tacked on to replicating a Blu-Ray DVD. It appears his comments originate from a discussion on the Digital Buzz podcast of January 31, 2008.

Blu-Ray Prices And Specifications…. Watch Out!

With the demise of HD-DVD both Gizmodo and Engadget are reporting higher Bul-Ray prices. In their post “Blu-ray Prices Higher Than Ever” they note that “data collected by, Blu-ray players have hit a high average of $400 per unit for the year—about the same price they were at this time last year”. They have since updated their posting noting that it’s the “off season” which normally lacks selling incentives that could account for the prices. Engadget is a little less forgiving in their post “Lack of competition sends Blu-ray player prices upward“.

Blu-Ray Profiles

Consumers need to be aware of the differing Blu-Ray Player profile. Given that SONY has already announced the BDP-S350 and S550 (SONY’s First Full 2.0 Spec Blu-ray Players), it’s important to know the differences if your planning to purchase a unit, information can be found at

Microsoft Admits Planning Blu-Ray Support

While Microsoft had always been thought to be in the HD-DVD camp, the company has moved quickly to adopt Blu-Ray At MIX08 Steve Balmer was quoted to say, “We’ve already been working on, for example, in Windows, device driver support for Blu-ray drives and the like, and I think the world moves on… Toshiba has moved on. We’ve moved on, and we’ll support Blu-ray in ways that make sense.” more here…

Toshiba’s Plan for Life After HD-DVD

In a interview for the Wall Street Journal, Chief Executive Atsutoshi Nishida of Toshiba announced that his firm will target consumers with TVs, PCs and Standard Disc Players following the collapse of HD DVD. The demise of HD DVD is a huge blow to Toshiba, which is a huge company that makes semiconductors, appliances and nuclear reactors.

Solid State Drives

As posted on an earlier date Solid State Drives are an alternative to Blu-Ray for those who want a non DRM medium. A great place to learn about this space is by looking at the tagged posts on Cnet tech news blog. In addition I found this post about Imation geting into the solid state drive game.

New Look, Solid State Memory, CES 2008 Report and VISTA’s Lowered Standards

New Look For Site

Spent a little time this evening changing the look of the site. I’m still learning WordPress and at least the header of the blogsite looks a little more complete. I like the look of the three-column layout so I think I’ll stick with this for a while. I promise I’ll start posting more images in the future but for now I’d just like to continue adding content to the site. I’m learning WordPress and Twitter at the same time and the only comment I got from my daughter is that I Tweet too much. She might be right on that subject but I use tweets when I’m working to provide the fodder for the ….brad’s blog…. postings.

CES 2008 – The Consumer as an Agent For Change

While searching the Internet today I see that an old acquaintance of mine Phil Keeling is still producing a report on CES for the Canadian Satellite Users Association. Titled “CES 2008 – The Consumer as an Agent For Change”, it can be found at I’m glad I found it because there are some things in are in it that will really help me in my work.

Blu Ray and Solid State Memory

While I do believe there is is a spot in the consumer marketplace for Optical Media, I’m not completely sold on the “trash talk” on Blu Ray being the victor with the demise of HD DVD. The question is exactly what did Blu Ray win? In the period of time that it has taken Blu Ray to establish itself I’m convinced that a growing number of people like the idea of carrying around small USB flash drives and I believe that ultimately file based media –without DRM schemes– will be the preferred methodology by which individuals will consume media.

The CES 2008 report specifically cites Shelly Palmers CES blog where he notes;

During CES week, the HD DVD v. BluRay war was called in favor of BluRay. This may be premature or it may be right on the money – in truth, it would be great to have a single optical solution for HD storage. But, while everyone at the show was taking sides and talking trash, some people might have missed the other big story at CES – solid state memory.

You know your jump drive (the little USB thingy you have on your key chain)? It could be up to 8GB, but it’s probably a smaller model. Well, several manufacturers were showing prototypes of jump drive and SSD (Solid State Disc) technologies up to 832GB. Yes, you read it right, almost a Terabyte of data could be hanging on your keychain within a very few months.

What will that mean to you? Well a standard DVD holds one movie and some additional material in 4.7GB and BluRay disc holds about four times as much. But, if you compress a movie to about 2GB where it still looks good, you can imagine a world where any given teenager could be walking around with over 400 full length, HD feature films, 1,200 standard definition films, 2,000 hours of television or 250,000 songs on their iPod or hanging on a keychain or lanyard.” You can find Shelly Palmers blog at

The CES 2008 report also notes some other interesting things that relates to advances in Media Technology. Here they are with links

There is much more in the report and if you didn’t get to CES and you work in the Media Industry this is as good a report as you’re going to get.

Engadget Reports Microsoft Lowered Vista Requirements To Help Intel Sell Incompatible Chipsets claims Microsoft lowered Vista design requirements to help Intel sell incompatible chipsets. The story appears to have some merit based on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer coverage of the case at The story is being reported because there is a class action lawsuit going on lawsuit over the “Windows Vista Capable” program. What’s interesting about this story is I watched Bill Buxton’s “The Design Eco-System” Keynote, at IxDA Interaction 08. Buxton works in Microsoft Research where he defined exactly what the design process is.

It’s interesting. He clearly indicates that design is all about making choices. He sees the role of the designer as someone who actually reduces options and one that narrows the final product. He laments that in a lot of industrial cases design is done after the product is approved,  citing buildings that are often designed internally as they are being constructed. One might conclude that it was probably the the design process that was at play with VISTA, if the class action lawsuit turns out to be true. I know I kept hearing about announced features relating to VISTA being dropped as it was being developed so I think Bill Buxton’s keynote is very astute. You can watch it at 

More later…….