Sony to Unveil AVCHD Camcorder This Week

Sony plans to roll out its first HD camcorder this week that will be compatible with the new AVCHD format, developed by Sony and Matsushita as a means of storing video on 8 cm DVD discs. While conventional DVD cannot support any HD format, AVCHD proponents say the emerging HD DVD and Blu-ray discs cannot yet be miniaturized enough for use with camcorder devices.

Recent sales numbers reportedly indicate that consumers prefer the relative simplicity of DVD disc camcorders over units that use tape or a hard disk, thus resulting in the creation of AVCHD. (However, AVCHD will also be expanded to include flash memory cards and hard-disk drives, according to separate announcements in recent days.)

AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec HD) uses the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec. The cam format works with 1080i and 720p. Specs were released in May and licensing of the first version, AVCHD 1.0, got underway the week of July 10, the companies said.

To date, the new format has gleaned the support of several Sony and Panasonic competitors such as Samsung, Sharp, Canon, Adobe Systems, and Pioneer.