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Sony, Panasonic Expand HD Camcorder Format

Lake Success, N.Y. — Following an announcement in May, Sony and Panasonic announced today that the jointly developed AVCHD format for recording HD video to traditional DVD discs will be expanded to include flash-memory cards and hard-disk drives.

The AVCHD format uses the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec to record 1,080i and 720p high-definition video to standard 8cm DVD discs. Panasonic had initially announced, separately, that it was working on a variant of the codec for recording HD video to flash-memory cards. Today’s announcement moves Sony into the flash-memory camp and commits the companies to developing a hard-disk-drive version of the format as well.

According to a joint statement, both companies are “extensively” promoting the new format throughout the industry and have won support from Canon, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Cyberlink, InterVideo, Nero AG, Sonic Solutions and Ulead Systems.

In an effort to expand the environment in which AVCHD content can be played, Sony and Panasonic have developed licensing programs for playback appliances and PC software.

Neither company has announced plans for AVCHD products in the United States.