International CES - Day 2

The Hitachi DZ-MV230 camcorder records on both DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs.
Recordable-DVD Gets More Compatible The Recordable DVD Council, with 83 members said to encompass all aspects of the DVD business, presented a cohesive plan for "DVD Multi" players and recorders. The players would be capable of reading not only commercially stamped DVDs and discs burned in the write-once DVD-R format but also all rewritable discs in the DVD-RAM and DVD-RW formats. The recorders would be able to burn DVD-R, DVD-RAM, and DVD-RW discs. DVD Multi gear, which will have a distinctive logo, must adhere to the DVD Multi standards promulgated by the DVD Forum, the main industry trade group. Conspicuously absent from the party was the Philips-led DVD+RW camp or any formal mention of that rewritable format, which is not recognized by the DVD Forum.

Jon Peddie, president of Peddie Research, predicted that sales of recordable-DVD computer drives will grow from 1.3 million units in 2001 to 9.8 million units in 2002 and more than 50 million by 2005. He also predicted that prices for the drives will fall below $400 and that a blank write-once recordable disc will cost less than $3 by the end of this year.

Last year Hitachi introduced the first camcorder that recorded directly to DVD. Unfortunately, it was DVD-RAM, which meant you couldn't pop out the 8-centimeter disc and play it on your home DVD player. This year Hitachi rectified that by introducing three camcorders that can record in the more widely compatible DVD-R format as well as DVD-RAM. (DVD-R discs are supposed to be playable in all standard DVD players.) The dual-sided rewritable DVD-RAM discs store 40 minutes of the highest-quality video, 1 hour at somewhat lower quality, and 2 hours at what Hitachi calls "standard quality." A single-sided DVD-R holds 30 minutes of high-quality video. These camcorders can also store 1,998 higher-resolution still photos in the JPEG format.

The top-of-the line DZ-MV270A, available in June for $1,300, supports the new, higher-speed USB 2.0 computer connection, while the other two models, available in April, are limited to USB 1.1. The DZ-MV270A and DZ-MV200A ($1,000) use quarter-inch, 1.1-million-pixel CCD image sensors, while the base model DZ-MV230 ($900) employs a 680,000-pixel CCD. Besides downloading their own recordings to a computer, all three cams can also record from a computer's digital A/V output