Sony Optical Disc Products to Ship in March

Sony's new XDCAM optical disc products are due to begin shipping in quantity on or before March 1. Expect about 2,000 units to shipped. Eighteen XDCAM camcorders are currently in the field undergoing final tests and getting last minute firmwire tweaks.

At a pre-Christmas briefing in New York, Sony executives showed "extreme" video from several of the XDCAM camcorders to demonstrate the robustness of the new optical system. This included a man who jumped from a helicopter with an operating XDCAM camcorder tied around his waist. The hard jerk of his opening parachute caused not a single glitch in the video.

Same result when a motorized raft did a quick 180-degree turn on a raging river. The camera, allowed to get soaking wet and banged hard on the wooden rim of the boat, recorded flawless video. The tape-based Betacams used to make the XDCAM demo, however, unthreaded several times during the shoot due to the high G-forces.

Sony said it was so pleased with the ruggedness tests of the XDCAM, it will offer an unprecedented seven-year warranty on the camera's optical drive powertrain systems. The powertrain system includes the optical block, the loader and the seek motor. Other parts are covered under Sony's standard one-year warranty.