Friday, May 12, 2006
High-definition video fans can prepare themselves for another new format: AVCHD. The format, developed by Sony and Panasonic, is aimed at high-definition camcorders and makes it possible to store HD content on currently available 3.2-inch DVDs, the companies said today.
AVCHD uses the MPEG4 AVC/H.264 compression system, which is more efficient than the MPEG2 system used on conventional DVDs. HD video contains about four times as much picture data as standard definition video, so a better compression system is essential if anything more than a few minutes of video is to be stored on each disc.
Yoshikazu Ochiai, a spokesman for Sony in Tokyo, said that despite the present focus on Blu-ray Disc, the format is currently not feasible for camcorder use. Several hurdles remain before Blu-ray Disc drives can be fitted into camcorders, including bringing down the price of the drive, making it small enough to fit into a camcorder, and reducing energy consumption.
Using AVCHD, about 20 minutes of HD video can be recorded on a single-sided DVD disc when using the average quality setting, said Ochiai. That compares to about 30 minutes of video when using the same disc with a standard definition camcorder.
Sony is already developing a camcorder based on AVCHD but Ochiai wouldn't provide any details. He did not explain what the acronym AVCHD represents.