Monday, March 05, 2007
The major difference between the two models is in how they store the video. The more expensive and higher capacity model is the HDC-SD1 and it stores the video that it records on SDHC high capacity memory cards. Each SDHC memory card holds approximately one hour of video and can be played by card reader onto a high definition television set. The HDC-SD1 costs about fifteen hundred dollars.
Panasonic's other high definition television camcorder is called the HDC-DX1 and is based on the same overall technology as the HDC-SD1, but records its video onto a Blu-ray disc. Each Blu-ray disc will hold about forty minutes of high definition video and can be played on a Blu-ray player onto a high definition television set. This model costs about fourteen hundred dollars.
While it's impressive that both of Panasonic's new high def camcorders use the same technology that's used for professional high definition videography, they seem to have the shortcoming of only recording an hour in the case of the HDC-SD1 and forty minutes in the case of the HDC-DX1 before requiring new storage media. This seems somewhat limiting. In the case of the HDC-DX1, the fact that it costs a hundred dollars less than the SD1 appears to be something of a false economy considering that it requires a Blu-ray player to watch the discs and most Blu-ray players cost in the ballpark of one thousand dollars.
That said, the HDC-DX1 could have a positive effect on the high definition DVD format war between the Blu-ray format and Toshiba's HD-DVD format. It's largely agreed that whichever of the two high definition digital video disc formats inspires more confidence in consumers will be the one to survive the war. One way to inspire confidence in consumers is to have a variety of different technologies that take advantage of the format that you support. (That way it looks like the format will be around longer!) A high definition camcorder that uses Blu-ray discs definitely does that for the Blu-ray format, and because of that it's a step in a positive direction for the Blu-ray format and its supporters.