Sony to sell hard disk camcorder from March

Sony will begin selling a camcorder in March that records video to a built-in hard-disk drive rather than to tape or DVD, it said Monday.

Sony will begin selling a camcorder in March that records video to a built-in hard-disk drive rather than to tape or DVD, it said Monday.

The camera, the DCR-SR100, was first unveiled at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this month. It contains a 30GB hard-disk drive and records video in MPEG2 format. There are three quality modes: HP records at 9M bps (bits per second), SP records at 6M bps and LP records at 3M bps. This works out to between 7 hours and 20 minutes of recording time and 20 hours 50 minutes of time depending on the mode, said Sony.

The camera has a USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0 interface for transfer of the recorded video to a personal computer. This interface can carry data significantly faster than first-generation USB and so is better suited to the large video files that will likely be generated. Users should be aware that their PC needs to support USB 2.0 to make use of this faster speed.

Other features include a 10X optical zoom lens and Sony's NightShot system that allows for infrared shooting in low-light or dark situations. The camera has a 2.7-inch LCD (liquid crystal display) touch panel through which many of the camera's functions can be operated.

In Japan it will go on sale from March 3 and cost YEN 135,000 ($AU1,552.89). Its launch in the U.S., where it will carry a $US1,100 price tag, is also planned in early March.

Victor Co. of Japan (JVC) introduced camcorders with 30GB hard disk drives and similar recording capabilities in the middle of last year. Availability in Australia is not yet known.

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Martyn Williams

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