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Sony to Intro HD Version of XDCAM Next Spring

Sony announced that it will introduce an HD version of XDCAM Pro Disc system in March 2006. The company reports it has shipped 8,000 XDCAM units worldwide since the system's initial launch at NAB2004.

The XDCAM is a tapeless acquisition system used by news organizations, professional videographers, and for television production--especially in the reality-TV genre due to the system's portability. Its HD version of the XDCAM system will enable producers to combine HD resolution with the same components available in the current non-HD system, according to Sony, and it will be compatible with the same Professional Disc (PFD-23) media used in the current XDCAM.

From a marketing standpoint, Sony sees its XDCAM HD as filling a niche in the HD marketplace between the company's entry-level HDV format and its high-end HDCAM and HDCAM SR formats. XDCAM HD products (one camcorder and two decks) will allow recording 1080i video in three data-recoding rates: 18 MB, 25 MB, and 35+ MB. The HD camcorder will include 24P acquisition and native recording capabilities, and can record 4 channels of 16-bit, 48 kHz uncompressed audio.

Users will be able to record up to two hours of content via 3 half-inch CCD 1.5 megapixel imagers. A variety of available lenses from major manufacturers will include auto-focus. The new HD camcorder reportedly will launch with a MSRP in the $20,000 range.