What is the BETACAM SX tape format?
The BETACAM SX tape format was developed and introduced by Sony in 1996 in an effort to bring cost-effective 1/2 inch digital recording technology to the ENG and EFP field. Based on the MPEG-2 Profile at Main Level, the BETACAM SX format records 8 bit, 4𠂺 component digital video signals using a 10:1 compression system to achieve exceptional video quality at very low data rates. The 4 in the 4𠂺 sampling structure refers to sampling of the luminance or black and white channel, and the 22 refers to the sampling of the two color difference channels. In addition, the BETACAM SX format supports four channels of 16-bit/48kHz digital audio.

The BETACAM SX format records onto a 1/2 inch (12.65mm) Metal Particle tape and uses the same size cassettes as BETACAM and BETACAM SP. A BETACAM SX studio VTR can record for up to 194 minutes onto a single large cassette and up to 60 minutes onto a small cassette.

How does it work?
The components that make up the analog NTSC television video picture have a bandwidth of roughly 5.5MHz. An uncompressed digital television signal has a high bit rate and occupies a 50 MHz bandwidth. In order to record such a large bandwidth signal, a compression scheme is needed.

The BETACAM SX video recorder is an electronic recording device that records video and audio signals on videotape for later playback and postproduction work. During the recording process, the videotape is moved past a high-speed rotating video head assembly that writes video and audio signals as digital information. Additionally, a BETACAM SX VTR uses multiple video heads to record and to play back the magnetically recorded information.

Unlike an analog recorder, which writes analog video and audio signals, the BETACAM SX video recorder writes video and audio signals as 1抯 and 0抯. During the recording process, the video heads write video, sync and audio data streams onto the tape in a helical track pattern (see figure above). And unlike an analog recorder, which writes two tracks for each full frame of video, a digital recorder writes 10 or more tracks to record a full video frame.

As mentioned previously, the digital video stream is compressed using the MPEG compression technique. The idea behind compression is to remove the redundancy in the video picture. The degree of compression determines how much of the original information remains intact and the quality of the playback video.

BETACAM SX maintains playback compatibility with tapes recorded in both BETACAM and BETACAM SP recorders, providing a natural migration path for users of older BETACAM formats who wish to upgrade to BETACAM SX.

Maxell BETACAM SX Videocassette tape
Maxell has employed its highly reliable tape production technologies and highly accurate cassette mechanism in the development of BETACAM SP and Digital BETACAM, and has capitalized on those technologies in the development of BETACAM SX, a superior product unsurpassed in its reliability for ENG / EFP operations under various environment conditions.

High reliability and durability
Maxell employs fine Ceramic Armor Metal magnetic particles and high-performance binder systems established from the development of BETACAM SP. This achieves superior reliability and durability under various ENG / EFP tape operating conditions, and under extreme tape running modes during editing.

Superior storage stability characteristics
The combination of Maxell抯 original super fine Ceramic Armor Metal particles and high-performance binder systems allow superior anti-heat resistance and anti-oxidation characteristics. The addition of another unique process of minimizing tape shrinkage achieves superior stability characteristics suitable for long-term storage, i.e., video archiving.

Smooth tape travel
Maxell employs a highly accurate cassette shell originally developed for Digital BETACAM to optimize smooth tape travel. In addition, Maxell抯 patented SW (Smooth Winding) reel with radial grooves molded on the lower flange emit most of the air generated during high-speed winding to minimize uneven tape winding.

Maxell Canada
50 Locke Street, Unit #2
Concord, Ontario, Canada
L4K 5R4


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