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Hitachi To Show Reel60, BD Camcorder

DENVER — Hitachi ventures to CEDIA to unveil its recently announced Blu-ray Disc camcorder and its new flat-panel TV lines featuring its proprietary “Reel60” technology.

“We are especially excited to be showcasing the world’s first Blu-ray camcorder at CEDIA this year. Being first with a Blu-ray camcorder is a huge achievement for us and something we are very proud of. We think attendees are going to be eager to get their hands on the product and check out its features and design,” said Daniel Lee, Hitachi’s marketing VP. “Beyond that, we’re also looking forward to demonstrating our groundbreaking Reel60 film-conversion technology, which we launched earlier this year. We will also continue to support and heavily leverage the custom install community.”

The camcorders are billed as the world’s first Blu-ray Disc high-definition models and include a hybrid model that will be capable of recording HD video to both Blu-ray discs and a 30GB hard disk drive.

Due in October, the camcorders feature 5.3-megapixel CMOS sensors capable of recording 1,920 by 1080i video to 8cm Blu-ray Discs (which will be launched by Hitachi’s sister company Maxell). They offer 10x optical zoom lenses, 4.3-megapixel still image capture to SD memory cards and HDMI output.

In addition to HD video, the camcorder can also record standard-definition MPEG-2 video to standard DVD-R/-RW/RAM discs.

The BD-only-based DZBD70A will carry a $1,299 suggested retail and can store an hour’s worth of HD video to a single-sided mini Blu-ray disc, Hitachi said.

The hybrid DZBD7HA records to both Blu-ray disc and a 30GB hard drive. It will retail for $1,499. The hard drive can store up to four hours of HD video.

In June the company introduced its new “1080” HD flat-panel line highlighted by three plasma models that employ the company’s “Reel60” 60Hz frame-rate technology, which is designed to present 24fps film material in a more natural and fluid way on TV screens.

Hitachi is using Reel60 as one of its chief product differentiators this season. The system removes common judder effects found in sets using 3:2 pull-down techniques.

By creating interpolated frames based on the original film images, the Reel60 processing technology smoothes out the movement and correctly matches the original motion. The result is smooth, fluid motion of subjects across the frame or backgrounds in rapid camera pans.

Hitachi’s Reel60 technology applies sophisticated algorithms to assess and accurately interpolate missing picture information during rapid motion interlaced video sequences. The patented Hitachi processor references various film frames to predict motion at any given space and time to increase detail and correct for motion artifacts in those sequences.

Combined with the natural advantages of plasma technology, the system provides a strong story against LCD 1080p systems with 120Hz refresh rates, the company said.

In total, Hitachi is offering 14 flat-panel models across five product series this year. That breaks down to 10 plasma sets and four LCD TVs. The latter category consists of 42-inch and 47-inch 1080p sets in two series.

Hitachi executives said that all models this year will have 1080 resolution, although by this they refer only to vertical lines of resolution and not necessarily to interlaced or progressive display techniques. Only one plasma model — a 60-inch Reel60 set — will use a 1,920 by 1080p panel this year.

Other sets use Hitachi’s ClearWindow (formerly ALiS) technology, which employs a form or interlacing.

At the high-end of the line, the Reel60 technology will be found in three plasma models including a pair of X series or “Director’s Series” models in the 60-inch P60X901 ($7,999 suggested retail) and the 50-inch P50X901 ($4,299). Both are shipping now to specialty A/V distribution.

In Hitachi’s V series is the 50-inch Reel60 P50V701, ($3,999). All Reel60 models include CableCARD slots, TV Guide On Screen, SD Card Photo viewers, split screen and a glowing multifunction remote.