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Hitachi Blu Ray, AVCHD Camcorders Schedule For ‘07

San Diego — Hitachi plans to introduce a Blu -ray Disc camcorder and an AVCHD model in the U.S. market in 2007.

The firm announced its Blu-ray aspirations at the CEATEC show in Japan last week and product manager Jeff Fochtman confirmed to TWICE that an AVCHD model is also on the company’s U.S. roadmap for 2007.

“We haven’t ruled ourselves out of any format, we plan to support both,” Fochtman said. Both of Hitachi’s high def camcorders will record in 1080i, he added. The company is targeting a $1500 price point for the Blu -ray camcorder and Fochtman said it will likely be slightly larger than a DVD-based camcorder.

Hitachi will ultimately debut three new camcorder technologies in 2007, the two aforementioned HD camcorders and a dual DVD/HDD model it unveiled at CEATEC (see TWICE 10/9/06 pg. 8).

The AVCHD specification was developed by Panasonic and Sony as a means to bring 1080i HD recording to market quickly before Blu -ray technology could be adequately downsized for consumer camcorders. AVCHD video can be recorded onto standard 3-inch DVD discs and played back on Panasonic and Sony Blu -ray disc players and Sony’s forthcoming Playstation 3. Other companies, such as Samsung, Pioneer and Sharp, have announced support for the format as well.

In addition to DVDs, AVCHD supports recording HD video to flash memory cards and hard disc drives. Hitachi has not indicated what its AVCHD model will record to.

When Sony unveiled its first HD camcorders based on the AVCHD specification, company representatives said a Blu-ray camcorder, while not impossible, was still technologically burdensome, especially when aiming for smaller form factors.

While Panasonic demonstrated AVCHD-based camcorders at the CEATEC show, Sony is the only manufacturer to currently offer AVCHD camcorders U.S.