New consumer HD camcorders may offer wider uses

Sony last week announced two new consumer HD camcorders that offer an alternative for HD news acquisition for scenarios where crews and journalists are likely to confront life-threatening circumstances.

The HDR-UX1 and HDR-SR1 Handycam camcorders are consumer models that record in full 1080i HD resolution and offer Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound recording.

The camcorders, which record using the AVCHD camcorder recording format based on the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec for video compression and Dolby digital audio, are being offered at prices significantly less than HDV and HVX models that previously may have been the only HD alternative for such situations.

The HDR-SR1 records to a built-in 30GB hard drive, and the HDR-UX1 records to 3in DVDs. HD content recorded on DVDs with either the HDR-UX1 or HDR-SR1 models can be played back on Blu-ray disc devices and conventional DVD players with software supplied from Sony. Record time for the HDR-SR1 is 10 hours. The HDR-UX1 can record as much as an hour of material in long play mode with Sony's +R double-layer, single-sided DVD.

The camcorders come with Sony's ClearVid CMOS image sensor and Karl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens.