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Hitachi Unveils DVD-Based C’Corder Lineup

Hitachi revealed it is dropping traditional analog and D8-based camcorders to focus marketing efforts on an expanded lineup of DVD-based models, using the DVD-RAM and just-added DVD-R recordable disc formats.

The camcorder lineup will include three models, adding DVD-R recording capability to the feature array.

Two models in last year’s line used only the DVD-RAM rewritable disc format which does not offer backward compatibility with most pre-existing DVD video players.

The new write-once DVD-R format is compatible with most DVD video players, said Leo Delaney, Hitachi marketing VP. Using single-sided DVD-R discs, the camcorders will store up to 30 minutes of video at 704×480 pixel resolution (6 Mbps bit rate), and 60 minutes at 480×352 resolution (3 Mbps).

DVD-RAM discs are double sided and will store a minimum 40 minutes of high-resolution video (20 minutes per side), one hour of high quality DVD video (30 minutes per side) at 704×480 resolution or two hours of standard quality video at 480×352 resolution.

Both disc formats are smaller than conventional DVDs at 8cm, and require disc caddies to load into the camcorders. Features in the new lineup also include a high-speed USB 2.0 digital connector in the high-end unit, and a 1.1 megapixel CCD with JPEG still photo resolution capability of up to 1,280×960.

The top-of-the-line model (DX-MV270A) will carry a $1,299.95 suggested retail when it ships in June and features a 3.5-inch flip out LCD monitor.

The entry and mid-line models will ship in April at suggested retail prices of $899.99 (DZ-MV200A) and $999.99 (DZ-MV230A), respectively. Both include 2.5-inch LCD monitors and USB 1.1 connectors. The entry model uses a black and white viewfinder and a 680,000 pixel CCD.

Hitachi also announced its line of plasma display panels dedicated to the home-theater market. Models include the 32W-inch 32HDT20 and 42W-inch 42HDT20. Like Fujitsu, Hitachi uses the Alternate Lighting of Surfaces (ALiS) technology, which is said to be more cost effective and requires less power consumption than conventional PDP technologies.

The 32W-inch screen size offers resolution of 1,024×852 and will carry a $5,999.99 suggested retail price when it ships in April. The 42W-inch model offers 1,024×1,024 resolution and will ship in May at $7,999.99.

Both include central Audio/Video Control Center boxes that incorporate NTSC tuners with advanced split screen capability and single-cable connection to the panel.

At its recent off-site CES line presentation, Hitachi also demonstrated a prototype 55W-inch rear-projection HDTV monitor based on three 0.9-inch Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) microdisplay panels with 1,365×1,024 resolution. The company was said to be gauging dealer reaction to the product, and had no immediate marketing plans in the consumer products division.

Also announced for 2002 were a pair of DVD players in the DV-P325U (shipping in March at $139.95) and DV-P725U (shipping in April at $189.95).

Both models will play back discs in the DVD video, DVD-R, VideoCD, CD, CD-R and CD-RW formats and will decode MP3 music files. The UltraVision Digital DV-P725U features progressive scan video output, and a headphone jack with volume control.

The company also announced DVD Home Theater in box system (DV-S522U, $429.95) and a dual-deck DVD-VCR combo product (DV-PF2), which ships in April at a $249.95 suggested retail.