Reprinted from a Hitachi press release:

The Home Electronics Division of Hitachi America, Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT), www.hitachi.us/tv, introduced the company’s fourth generation DVD camcorders at the 2004 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The new models, the UltraVision Digital(R) DZ-MV550A and DZ-MV580A, add a lighter chassis with a more comfortable grip and a new Quick Mode menu function that allows for easier navigation through the camcorder’s menu system. Additionally, the DZ-MV580A adds an optional 16×9 widescreen filming format for DVD-RAM recording.

“Constantly improving our products based on the latest engineering innovation and user feedback, Hitachi brings the latest DVD camcorder to market with greater recording flexibility and user convenience,” said Leo Delaney, vice president of marketing for Hitachi America, Ltd., Home Electronics Division. “With 16×9 widescreen television sets taking hold of the market, it was time to give users the option of this format and introduce an easier menu system for quick access to the most important functions.”

Enhanced Design and Menu
Looking to offer consumers the perfect camcorder design, Hitachi modified the camcorder chassis to better fit the hand and provide a better grip and a lighter load from previous versions. Additionally, the zoom controls were moved for easier access on the fly.

Another addition to the new models is Hitachi’s new Quick Mode menu function. When activated, only the most commonly used functions are displayed in a streamlined on screen display so users do not have to search through all the menu options.

High-Quality Video Recording
Hitachi’s 2004 DVD camcorders again utilize high quality and high efficiency MPEG2 video recording technology. Users can select between increased recording quality or extended recording time. When using a DVD-RAM disc, the camcorder utilizes either variable bit rate (VBR) or constant bit rate (CBR) recording formats. With a double sided DVD-RAM disc inserted, the camcorders record approximately 40 minutes of video in extra-fine mode (704×480, 3-9 Mbps VBR), 60 minutes in fine mode (704×480, 6Mbps CBR) or 120 minutes in standard mode (352×480, 3Mbps CBR). The double-sided DVD-RAM disc can also hold 1,998 still images recorded at high resolution (1280×960 for DZ-MV580A and 640×480 for DZ-MV550A).

DVD-R disc recordings can be played on most DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. The camcorder’s DVD-R function shoots approximately 30 minutes of high quality DVD video in fine mode (704×480, 6Mbps CBR) or approximately 60 minutes in standard mode (352×480, 3Mbps CBR). DVD-Rs are not re-writeable and in most cases must be finalized before they will play in most DVD players and DVD-ROMs. However, to simplify the process and to save time for the user, three new 2004 Hitachi multi-format DVD players/recorders (DV-RX70U, DV-RF7U and DV-RX7000U) can playback non-finalized DVD-R discs recorded on Hitachi DVD camcorders.

DVD-RAM Features
In addition to the new 16×9 widescreen recording feature, DVD-RAM discs offer in-camera editing. This sophisticated system allows consumers to shuffle scenes and add special transition effects including fades and wipes without the need for a computer. Also, with the USB2.0 connection, video can be uploaded to a PC and edited with the included PC software. After editing, the video can be transferred back to the camcorder and burned onto a DVD-R for playback on most DVD players(1). If the PC has a compatible 4.7G byte DVD-RAM or DVD-ROM drive, capable of reading 4.7 GB DVD-RAM discs, the user can simply place the DVD-RAM disc in the drive and download the information directly to a PC. For the ultimate in convenience, the user can take a DVD-RAM disc directly out of the Hitachi DVD camcorder and play it back in any of the aforementioned 2004 Hitachi multi-format DVD player/recorders.

Digital Still Photos
The camcorders can record digital still photos directly to the DVD-RAM disc or to a Multi Media or Secure Digital flash memory card. Depending on the model of camcorder, the compression and the selected resolution, the camcorders can record between 22-400 JPEG images on a 16MB memory card.

DZ-MV550A Features
Hitachi’s DZ-MV550A features a 680k pixel 1/4-inch CCD, 18x optical zoom lens with 500x digital zoom expander, 0.3 Lux in low light mode and electronic image stabilization (EIS) for video and still photos. The camcorder has a six-mode auto exposure, auto and manual white balance and full auto and manual focus.

Fitted with a 2.5-inch TFT LCD color monitor, the unit has a 113K pixel color viewfinder and digital stereo sound. In addition to the USB2.0 PC connection, the camcorder includes an S-video output, an A/V input/output and microphone jack. The unit comes equipped with a Li-ion battery, remote control, 8cm single-sided DVD-RAM disc, A/V cable with S-video, USB cable and PC software CD-ROM with USB driver, UDF file system software, VR editing software and DVD authoring software. The DZ-MV550A measures 3.5 x 2.50 x 5.75 inches and weighs 1.09 lbs. It is slated for release in Q2 2004, at a retail price of $799.99.

DZ-MV580A DVD Camcorder
Major step-up features of Hitachi’s DZ-MV580A are the 16×9 recording mode on DVD-RAM discs, a 1 mega pixel CCD which improves still picture capability to 1280×960 resolution and an S-Video input for optimal transfer of high resolution tape-based material. Additionally, the DZ-MV580A offers a 10x optical zoom lens with 240x digital zoom expander and a hot shoe for flash. Other specs and accessories match the DZ-MV550A.

The DZ-MV580A measures 3.5 x 2.5 x 5.75 inches and weighs 1.12 lbs. The unit is also slated for release in Q2 2004 and will retail for $899.99

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