Hitachi Brings Blu-Ray Disc Camcorder to Europe

Hitachi Ltd. will launch its digital video camcorder based on Blu-ray Disc in Europe in October, the company announced Friday at the IFA international consumer electronics show in Berlin.

The camera, available in Japan since Thursday, is also slated to reach store shelves in North America next month.

Consumers can choose between two models: the BD70E, which uses a built-in 8 centimeter Blu-ray Disc burner to record video directly to discs; and the BD7HE, a hybrid model, which includes both the disc burner and a 30G-byte hard disk drive.

The BD70E will cost around ,1,300 (US$1,775 ) and the hybrid version ,1,500.

All components in the cameras, including, lens, CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor), drive and disc output, are full 1920 x 1080 high-definition. "We guarantee end-to-end full HD," Roland Fritsch, European product manager at the Hitachi Digital Media Group, said at a news conference.

While the 7.5G-byte Blu-ray Disc offers about one hour of recording, the hard disk drive provides four hours.

Fritsch expects storage capacity of both to be increased. "We won't see dual-layer recording on Blu-ray Disc camcorders this year, but there will be developments in this area," he said.

The new camcorder could help meet demands by manufacturers of Blu-ray Disc players for more content, according to Fritsch. "Everyone says we need more Blu-ray Disc content and keep talking about Hollywood," he said. "Yes, we need Hollywood titles, but now, with our new camcorders, everyone can create Blu-ray Disc content."

IFA runs through Wednesday.

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