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Sony Fills Out Camcorder Line

Las Vegas — While DVD and hard disk-based camcorders vied for the CES spotlight, the yeoman MiniDV, Digital8 and analog formats nonetheless persevered as the category’s market share leader, Sony, rounded out its line for the price sensitive buyer.

The company also brought its first sub-$1,000 3-megapixel MiniDV model to the show in the DCR-HC90. The model features a 2.7-inch LCD display designed to record and play back video in the 16:9 widescreen format.

Additional features include an intelligent accessory shoe, Super NightShot Plus, built-in flash and a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens.

Sony also will bundle its Handycam Station docking cradle with more of its MiniDV models in 2005 in an effort to “better integrate video taking in a consumer’s life,” said Linda Vuolo, camcorder products director. The cradle recharges the unit’s battery and includes S-video, A/V, USB and 1394 inputs for connecting the device to televisions and computers.

The company’s MiniDV line ships in February and will also include the $400 DCR-HC21 with a 20x optical/800x digital zoom, and Super SteadyShot image stabilization. The HC32 adds a Handycam Station and a slot for Memory Stick DUO for roughly $500. The HC42 fills out the line by building on the HC32 by adding a16:9 wide mode and 2.7-inch LCD display. It will retail for approximately $600.

Sony also updated its lower-cost Hi8 and Digital8 formats adding a NightShot mode, 2.5-inch LCD with zoom and recording controls button on the screen’s frame, and more powerful optics on select models. The units will also enjoy the “Easy Handycam” button for resetting the camcorder’s settings to automatic mode, and simplifying the display by showing enlarged icons for basic readings such as power and tape length. The camcorders use Sony’s InfoLithium battery with the AccuPower Meter system.

The DCR-TRV480 Digital8 will stand atop the line, shipping in February for approximately $350. It can play back analog 8mm and Hi8 video recordings and features Super NightShot Plus, analog input with A/D conversion and still photo recording to an optional Memory Stick memory card.

The DCR-TRV280 also ships in February for approximately $300. It features a 20x optical zoom and a built-in light in addition to Sony’s NightShot Plus mode.

Sony’s two new Hi8 models ship in February. The CCD-TRV138, for $240, offers a 20x optical zoom, NightShot Plus, and new LCD screen controls. The CCD-TRV338 adds Super SteadyShot picture stabilization for $270.