September 2, 2007 Officially announced just a month ago in Japan, Hitachi’s Blu-ray disc camcorders were one of the big hits at IFA this week. The camcorders use the world's highest resolution 5.3 megapixel CMOS sensor and store 1920x1080 Full HD video on 8cm Blu-ray disc media and hit stores across Europe in October. Two models will be available, both of which can output to display devices via HDMI port – one with a Blu-ray disc and Multiformat+ DVD burner drive that will store an hour of 1920x1080 footage; and the other a hybrid with the same drive plus a 30GB hard diskthat adds another four hours of full HD recording.

The new models are the Hitachi BD70E (Blu-ray disc and Multiformat+ DVD burner drive) and the BD7HE (a Hybrid Blu-ray disc + hard disk drive camcorder with a 30GB hard disk drive as well as an 8cm Blu-ray disc and Multiformat+ DVD burner drive). Both models utilise 8cm mini Blu-ray discs or 8cm DVD-RAM, RW, R and +RW media making them compatible with both the new benchmark in Full HD optical disc media, Blu-ray disc, and backwardly compatible with the most popular and less expensive 8cm DVD formats.

“In Europe, almost 100% of all flatpanel TVs sold are HD Ready and forecasts predict over 106.2 million homes will have HDTV sets by 2010,” according to Roland Fritsch, Product Marketing Manager, Hitachi Digital Media Group. “Ready access to HD is raising the bar on consumers' visual expectations. They now want their own film footage to have the same quality, impact and clarity as today's HD programmes, movies and games - particularly when viewed on large-size LCD and plasma screens at home.”

'With our new Blu-ray disc camcorders, this becomes a reality. You can capture and record the sharpest, Full HD images onto high capacity Blu-ray discs, which are fast becoming the new benchmark reference format for HD movies. The results are incredible. In HD, your memories remain fresh forever; as full of passion and life as the moments themselves; and with an unrivalled level of quality that lets you see, hear, experience, and feel more than ever before.' Hybrid Blu-ray disc + HDD technology - HD Movies without a PC For those looking for the ultimate in quality, convenience and versatility, the BD7HE Hybrid Blu-ray disc + HDD camcorder can capture and store four hours of HD quality recording on it's internal HDD. Raw footage can be edited into finished films on board the camera, before burning multiple Blu-ray discs at the touch of one button - all without having to hook up to a PC or other output device.

Not only does this eliminate the time and effort associated with connecting and transferring files to PC but disc burning time is faster too. The BD7HE uses Hitachi's MPEG 4 AVC/H.264 compression to copy Full HD files to Blu-ray disc at a rapid rate. This Hybrid Blu-ray disc + HDD technology makes the ideal for creating multiple copies of Full HD Blu-ray discs to share quickly and easily with family and friends.

When recording time and not necessarily high definition quality is a greater priority, the cameras can also be set to record in standard (HS) quality mode. This provides up to 2 hours of recording time on the BD70E and 8 hours on the BD7HE's integrated hard disk drive.

As well as recording to Blu-ray disc, both the camcorders are Multiformat+ compatible and, like other Hitachi camcorders, can record to a range of the most popular 8cm DVD media including DVD-RAM, DVD-RW, DVD-R and +RW* discs. Users can choose to save standard footage direct to traditional DVD for lower cost sharing and convenient playback on standard DVD devices.

Fritsch adds, 'Even if you don't have the capability to view Full HD 1920x1080 on your TV at the moment, by capturing and saving your high definition footage to Blu-ray disc onboard the camera itself, you can rest assured that your memories are stored in the highest possible resolution - for viewing in the future if you decide to upgrade your equipment.'

The camcorders use compact 8cm 7.5GB Blu-ray discs, in either recordable (BD-R) or re-writable (BD-RE) formats available from leading digital media manufacturers such as Maxell.

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