Matsushita, Sony Propose Consumer HD Cam Format

Matsushita and Sony have jointly proposed a new format for HD cameras, known as AVCHD, which would allow mostly non-professionals to record 1080i and 720p images using 8 cm DVD recordable discs.

AVCHD taps into the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec for video compression, and Dolby Digital (AC-3) or Linear PCM for audio. The data transfer rate is reportedly a maximum 18 Mbps. The 8-cm DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, DVD-R and DVD+RW, as well as DVD+R discs, can be used, the companies said.

AVCHD's use of H.264 compression will allow storage capacity of 1.46 GB on an 8-cm disk. A one-sided disc can store up to 20 minutes of high-res digital images; a two-sided disc can store 40 minutes at a 9 MB data rate, according to the companies. The video format will allow the use of existing DVD discs, although Matsushita (Panasonic brand) and Sony both support the Blu-ray format.