Panasonic’s SD Card Camcorder

Panasonic Broadcast and Digital Systems announced that it is developing a camcorder that records up to 18 minutes of video on an array of four SD cards housed in a single PCMCIA card. The camcorder, which will be marketed under Panasonic’s DVCPRO moniker, will be able to shoot 4:1:1 DV25 video as well as 4:2:2 DV50 video. Captured footage can be transferred to editing workstations at 640Mbps (more than 20x faster than real time).

Multiple four-card arrays can be used at a time and the capacity is projected to grow, as higher-density SD cards become available. Some benefits include: no moving parts, silent operation, less mass and lower power consumption. Panasonic also claims that the new camcorders will thrive in inclement weather, including high humidity, rain and snow, as well as being resistant to dust, vibration and mechanical shocks. Panasonic expects to ship the DVCPRO SD card camcorder in Spring 2004.

Apple Unveils Power Mac G5

Apple Computer, Inc. took the wraps off their newest personal computer, the Power Mac G5, at the Worldwide Developer Conference, held June 23-27 at the Moscone West Convention Center in San Francisco, CA. The new machines, claimed by Apple to be the fastest personal computers in the world, range in speed from 1.6GHz to a dual-2.0GHz configuration. Each machine is equipped with Apple’s SuperDrive DVD burner. The machines will retail from $1,999-$2,999, depending on configuration.

Pioneer Multi-Format DVD Burner

Pioneer has shipped their first DVD burner that burns both DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW discs, the DVR-A06. The unit burns DVD-R and DVD+R discs at 4x, DVD-RW discs at 2x and DVD+RW at 2.4x. CD formats aren’t left behind and the drive can burn CD-R at 16x and CD-RW at 10x. The unit includes a 2MB buffer and is available now for $329.

Iomega Does DVD-R/+R/-RAM

Iomega’s Super DVD drive burns DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW discs at speeds up to 4X, along with DVD-RAM and CD-R/RW discs. The drive can also extract audio from CDs at 24x. Iomega will bundle the drive with their own Automatic Backup and HotBurn Pro CD burning software, along with Sonic Solutions MyDVD authoring and Cineplayer media player software. The drive is slated to ship in September for $330.

HP’s dvd300 Burner

HP’s dvd300e and dvd300i DVD burners are DVD+R/RW units that can burn DVD+R discs at 4x. The dvd300i is an ATAPI internally mounted unit, while the dvd300e includes both FireWire and USB 2.0 connections. Both units are bundled with ArcSoft ShowBiz DVD, HP Memories Disc Creator, Cyberlink PowerDVD and Veritas RecordNow, to fulfill basic DVD and CD authoring and playback needs. The dvd300i retails for $299, and the dvd300e retails for $399.

Sonic Foundry Vegas gets DVD Burning and Dolby 5.1

Loyal Vegas fans will be happy to hear that Sonic Foundry has shipped Vegas+DVD, a version of Vegas 4 that includes Sonic Foundry’s DVD Architect DVD authoring application, along with a Dolby Laboratories-certified AC3 encoder for creating discs with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

Among the new features in Vegas 4: color correction tools, vectorscope, waveform and parade monitoring, and support for Windows Media 9. The software is now shipping. Vegas+DVD retails for $999, and Vegas 4 retails for $699. Users of Vegas Video 3 can upgrade to Vegas+DVD for $399, or to Vegas 4 for $199.

Ahead Announces Nero 6

Karlsbad, Germany-based Ahead Software has released version 6 of its disc-burning software, Nero. The program suite includes NeroVision Express 2, which performs basic capturing, editing and authoring functions, and can burn completed projects to DVD, VCD or SVCD. An MPEG-4 video encoding plug-in is slated to be available as well.

The package also includes the well-known Nero Burning ROM CD mastering program, with what Ahead claims is their "most powerful and reliable burning engine yet." The full version is available for a $70 download, or in a boxed version with printed documentation and a CD labeling starter kit for $100. Upgrades can be downloaded for $50.

Set-Top DVD Recorder Update

Standalone DVD recorders are the next big thing to invade the living room. Avid TV watchers are poised to archive their favorite programs to DVD and videographers are eyeing the devices (especially the ones with FireWire) for no-nonsense DVD creation. Here’s a quick overview of a few of the most notable machines set to replace the venerable VHS VCR.

The Sony RDR-GX7, which retails for $800, records both DVD-R/-RW and DVD+RW discs, and includes a one-touch dubbing feature for Mini DV or Digital8 camcorders attached via FireWire. The unit also supports variable bit rate recording, to get as much as six hours of video on a single DVD. The RDR-GX7 supports limited non-linear editing on VR-formatted DVD+RW discs.

Toshiba is shipping two models of DVD burners, the RD-X2 ($1,499) and the D-R1 ($600). The RD-X2 can record DVD-R and DVD-RAM discs and can also record content to its 80GB hard drive. The unit provides an assortment of analog video inputs. The D-R1 records only to DVD-R/RW and DVD-RAM discs. Both include a FireWire input for capturing video from digital camcorders.

Panasonic has a total of four models. The DMR-E60 ($600) is a DVD-only unit, while the DMR-E80 ($700) includes an 80GB hard drive. Both can record DVD-R and DVD-RAM, include SD card and PCMCIA slots and a FireWire jack. These two models join Panasonic’s existing lineup of set-top recorders, which include the DMR-E50 ($500) DVD-only unit and the DMR-HS2 ($1,000) DVD burner with a 40GB hard drive.

Pioneer, the most recent entrant into the set-top category, announced the DVR-810H and the Elite DVR-57H. Both units incorporate TiVo functionality, with free access to TiVo’s new Basic service and can optionally utilize the full TiVo service, including completely automatic recording. The unit can record from any analog video source and content captured to the hard drive can be edited before being burned to DVD. The DVR-810H includes an 80GB hard drive and retails for $1,199, while the Elite DVR-57H includes a 120GB hard drive and retails for $1,800.

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