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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

New Year Special Features '99

  • Sony to Market Digital Camcorders Using 8mm Tapes
  • January 13, 1999 (TOKYO) — Sony Corp. said that it developed the Digital8 format system that incorporates digital video and audio technologies using 8mm video tapes.
    The Tokyo-based company will start selling two digital camcorder models using that format on March 1.

    The DCR-TRV310K model equipped with a 3.5-in. liquid crystal display (LCD) monitor will be priced at 185,000 yen (US$1,660) and the DCR-TRV110K model with a 2.5-in. LCD monitor will carry a price tag of 148,000 yen (US$1,330).

    “Our new products can replay cassette tapes in digital and analog formats, and thus existing 8mm tapes recorded in the analog format will not become useless,” said senior vice president Shizuo Takashino.

    Sony accounts for about 50 percent of the shipments for consumer camcorders. The company aims to raise its market share to 60 percent, after launching the new series of camcorders, he also said.

    The horizontal resolution of video footage in the Digital8 format is about 500 lines and its replay color band is about 1.5 MHz, or equivalent to the DV format used for home-use camcorders. Sony’s new models can take video footage with image-quality higher than that taken by 8mm analog camcorders.

    However, the recording time per unit tape length in the Digital8 format is about a half of that of conventional 8mm video tapes. That means a 60-minute tape has a recording time of 30 minutes.

    In addition to the high-quality video footage and audio recording characteristics equivalent to ordinary digital camcorders, the DCR-TRV310K and DCR-TRV110K models have a variety of other features.

    They are capable of replaying video tapes taken by conventional 8mm camcorders. Second, image data can be transferred from the camcorders over a built-in iLINK, or a DV terminal, to personal computers.

    Each model has zoom functions: 20X for optical and 80X for digital. The shutter speed is variable from 1/60 to 1/4000. And every model has a picture stabilization system. The DCR-TRV310K, the highest range model, is equipped with a picture stabilization system called the New Active Image Area System, company officials said.

    The DCR-TRV310K and DCR-TRV110K models have 340,000 and 290,000 valid pixels, respectively. The DCR-TRV310K has a color viewfinder and the other model has a monochrome unit.

    Both models operate on a lithium-ion secondary battery that comes as a standard accessory.

    The DCR-TRV310K model is 108mm wide by 195mm deep by 106mm high, and it weighs about 960g, and the DCR-TRV110K model is 101mm wide by 217mm deep by 107mm high and weighs 890g.

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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