Sony plans to take the wraps off its first high-definition camcorder compatible with the new AVCHD format next Wednesday.
AVCHD has been developed by Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic) as a way to allow high-definition video to be stored on 8-centimeter DVDs. Conventional DVDs don’t support high-definition video, but the new HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc optical disc formats are not yet mature enough for use in camcorders.
That means camcorder makers like Sony have used DV cassettes and hard-disk drives in current high-definition camcorders. However, sales figures show consumers much prefer the simplicity of DVD-based camcorders to those that use tape or hard-disk, hence the creation of AVCHD.
Licensing of version 1.0 of the format has just begun, and the format has attracted support from several rival camcorder makers including Canon, Pioneer, Samsung Electronics and Sharp.
-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)