Blu-ray &Hardware Steven Kippel on 02 Aug 2007

Mini Blu-ray Discs, camcorders on their way

Mini Blu-ray Discs, camcorders on their way
Last month I had reported on Hitachi’s Blu-ray camcorder. Today I get to tell you the media for that camera is on its way just in time for the cameras.

Verbatim and Imation are shipping the 8cm 7.5GB Blu-ray Disc to reach the market this month in Japan. The media will not be available in the States until BD-cameras are available here. Verbatim gave a price of $20 each “initially.” Imation has a $24.99 each for -R and $34.99 for -RE (re-writable) discs.

The Verbatim discs are manufactured by MKM (Verbatim’s parent company) in Japan. Imation’s discs will use the TDK Life on Record brand and will be manufactured by TDK.

This mini-BD is an unusual sized disc at 8cm across, and it appears it will only be used in camcorders at this time. The BDA developed this disc specifically for this type of application, much like HDMI’s 1.3 spec includes a mini-HDMI connector for cameras as well. At a 1920×1080 interlaced (1080i) resolution, one disc will hold one hour of continuous video. If you reduce the horizontal resolution to 1440×1080 interlaced, you can get up to two hours. There is some indication that double-sided discs will appear in the future, but nothing has been announced yet. Since they are Blu-ray, they will come with the proprietary hard-coat finish to prevent scratches and dust from accumulating on the surface.

Hitachi DZ-BD7HA

In the US, we should see these BD-cameras coming to market in October. Hitachi has unveiled two BD-cameras for the States. The DZ-BD70A will retail at $1,300 and will utilize the mini-BD. The big brother, DZ-BD7HA, is a hybrid camera with a 30GB hard drive that can hold up to four hours of video where you can edit the content before you burn it to the mini-BD. The DZ-BD7HA will sell at $1,500. Both cameras record in 1920×1080 interlaced video with a 5.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, and can take stills at 4.32-megapixels stored on an SD card. They also offer 10x optical zoom and HDMI output.

I may have discounted Blu-ray as a camera format, but time will only tell how viable the platform is. It looks like Hitachi is banking on this technology taking off.

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