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Sony Intros Flash-Based HD Camcorder

San Diego, Calif. — Sony announced its first high-definition camcorder capable of recording to flash memory today.

The company also added two hard disk drive (HDD) high-definition camcorders to its lineup.

All three models are based on the AVCHD specification developed by Sony and Panasonic for recording 1080i video to standard DVDs, hard disk drives and flash-memory cards.

Shipping in June, all the new models use Sony’s ClearVid CMOS sensor technology and feature built-in Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound recording, Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* optics and the company’s Super SteadyShot optical image stabilization

The flash-based HDR-CX7 records 1080i video to Memory Stick PRO Duo memory cards. According to Sony, an 8GB card can fit nearly three hours of video when recorded in LP mode.

The 15 ounce camcorder features a 3-megapixel CMOS sensor capable of capturing 6-megapixel still images. It will retail for an estimated $1,200.

The 60GB HDR-SR7 can fit approximately 22 hours of video when in LP mode. It will also feature a 3-megapixel sensor and is expected to retail for $1,400.

The 40GB SR5 can store 15 hours of LP video on its HDD and offers a 2-megapixel sensor capable of capturing 4-megapixel stills. It will retail for an estimated $1,100.

Sony will debut several new in-camera and software-based video search technologies with the new Handycams.

The camcorders will feature a “film roll” button that displays scenes within a movie file as thumbnails images on the units’ 2.7-inch LCD screen. The models also incorporate “face index” technology that enables users to access scenes by searching for common faces.

The included Picture Motion Browser software also adds several new search features, including the ability to search video by voice, color and face.

The camcorders also use Sony’s “x.v.Color” technology which is based on the xvYCC color standard. According to Sony, adhering to the new standard lets the camcorders “reproduce a much wider data range of colors than the conventional sRGB standard.”

Sony will bundle a Handycam Station dock with each model. The dock features an HD component output for connecting to HDTVs and a “one touch” disc burn button for burning DVDs with the supplied software.

HD video burned to a standard DVD can be viewed on compatible Blu-ray players from Panasonic, Sony and others and Sony’s PlayStation3, in addition to compatible PCs running Sony’s included software.

Sony’s HDR-CX7