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World's first HD camcorder records to SD card

Panasonic's new HD camcorder can record footage onto SD memory card
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Today's standard-resolution video cameras are under threat from the relentless march of high-definition consumer products, which began last year with Sony's HDR-HC1. Today in Tokyo, Panasonic Japan joined the fray with the world's first high-definition (1080i in this case) SD memory card camcorder, the HDC-SD1 .

The Y180,000 (£802) HDC-SD1 eschews tape by recording to an SD card in the new AVCHD high-definition format. AVCHD was developed to allow current-generation DVDs and memory cards to handle high-definition video, an important consideration in the absence of any Blu-ray or HD DVD cameras.

Panasonic's new flagship camcorder will go on sale next month in Japan, and early next year in the rest of the world. The price includes a 4GB SD card, which can hold up to 90 minutes of high-definition video at an encoding rate of 6Mbit/s. At the finest 13Mbit/s, that drops to a still-respectable 40 minutes. The SD1 is smaller than most current camcorders, weighing just 430g.

Second camera records HD TV to 8cm DVDs

At the same time, Panasonic announced a second AVCHD camera, the HDC-DX1, which records to 8cm recordable DVDs. The ¥160,000 (£711) DX1 peaks at 60 minutes of 6Mbit/s footage on a DVD-R dual-layer disc and weighs a very typical 680g.

Both cameras have three CCD sensors (one each for red, green and blue), a technique which generally provides superior colour reproduction. Most DVD players released from next year on will be able to handle video in the AVCHD format, although play-back and editing on a PC will require special decoding software.

As Sony is also supporting the format, it comes as no surprise that the upcoming PlayStation 3 will be able to decode AVCHD recordings. was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.