New memory card format from Sony and SanDisk

SxS cards are set to win a place at the high table of videography.

The hope for a single format for flash memory cards, or at least for plenty fewer than there are now, took a blow over the weekend when Sony and SanDisk jointly announced another new medium intended for use mainly in high-definition video cameras.

Going by the name of SxS (pronounded 'S by S'), the new card isn't entirely novel in that it is compliant with the existing ExpressCard standard, which itself grew out of the much older PCMCIA/PC card system.

Solid technology

The new card is essentially a solid-state drive (SSD) and will be used in professional video cameras that might otherwise include a spinning hard drive. Initial SxS cards will be offered with either 8GB or 16GB of flash memory, with cameras - such as Sony's high-end XDCAM HD - set to have two free slots for the media.

When SxS cards become available towards the end of 2007 their high-speed data transfers of up to 800Mbit/s are sure to appeal to professional news organisations that employ reporters who need to be able to report news, shoot video and edit the footage themselves.

The ability to handle HD TV while remaining light will win SxS plenty of friends, although the reported prices (upwards of £15,000) of the Sony cameras that will use it guarantee consumers won't have to worry about the new format anytime soon.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.