By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Sony today announced the Australian launched its first two AVCHD high definition Handycams, which were previewed to retailers at the Sony Experience More event in August.

The AVCHD high definition Handycam range includes the DVD-based HDR-UX1 (RRP $2,299) and the hard disk drive-based HDR-SR1 (RRP $2,499) – the first models in the world to employ the AVCHD video format for efficient encoding of high definition video.

“These new models reflect two emerging trends,” said Sony senior product manager – Handycam, Di Shepherd.

"The first gathering momentum is the HD format. This is mainly due to the move towards HDTV as the next mainstream TV standard. The second is the rise of the disk based camcorder, offering consumers a truly versatile medium."

The AVCHD codec was developed jointly by Sony and Pansonic, and was announced as a new standard on 13 July 2006, before either brand had launched a product implementing the technology.

According to Sony, the AVCHD video format has received support from other consumer electronics manufacturers including Canon, Pioneer, Samsung and Sharp, as well as video editing software makers such as Adobe, InterVideo, Ulead, Nero AG and Sonic Solutions.

AVHCD enables 1080i high definition video in the 16:9 widescreen format to be efficiently stored on a variety of reordable media, including standard 8cm DVD discs used in DVD camcorders, hard disk drives and even flash memory cards.

“Customers can benefit from this new format with a wider choice of media available to record and playback HD movies. The launch of he world’s first AVCHD disc-based camcorder with the UX1 and AVCHD hard disk drive camcorder with the SR1 has once again set another milestone for the camcorder industry,” said Shepherd.

Sony’s UX1 Handycam will record up to 32 minutes of 1080i high definition video on a single-layer 8cm DVD disc, or 15 minutes at the highest quality (12mbps). With a dual-layer disc, the UX1 can store up to 60 minutes of footage.
With its built-in 30GB hard disk drive, the SR1 can record up to 11 hours HD video at the lowest quality (5mbps), or four hours at the highest quality (15mbps).