Come December this year, Sony US is planning to offer a timely seasonal gift to serious amateur cameramen and professionals on a budget by releasing its cheapest-yet HDV high-definition video camera, the HVR-HD1000U.

The $1,900 (£950) shoulder-mounted camera fits neatly in the gap between high-end consumer products and the considerably more expensive full-blown professional models Sony makes.

HD TV on tape

Using the 1080i HDV standard for recording to miniDV tapes allows users to "maintain their current DV workflow without any disruptions", according to Sony. In other words, the HD1000U doesn't require any new media or editing software. And so it can be slipped into a newsroom looking to save a few pennies on hardware.

Realistically, the modest 10x optical zoom and 6.1-megapixel still-shot capability mean most takers will probably be enthusiasts looking for superior wedding video shoots and the like. Plans for a UK launch have yet to be announced.