Canon today rolled out its HR10 HD camcorder, which lays down 1080i images on a DVD. Using its 10x optical zoom lens, it acquires its footage using a full HD 1920x1080 CMOS image sensor, and records in the AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition) video format onto an ordinary DVD. Except for that DVD recording, it's just about the same camera as Canon's tape-based HV20 HD camcorder, with image stabilisation, 3.1-megapixel still image capture and a 2.7-inch LCD widescreen viewfinder. Get lots more info, including our hands-on impressions, future plans from Canon, availability and pricing, after the jump.
Like its HV20 bro, this is a highly portable camcorder, and this one can record in either standard definition or high definition. If you record standard-definition onto its DVD, you can pop that disc into almost any DVD player and play back its MPEG-2 footage right away. Or, if you record in AVCHD format on a regular DVD, you can play it back on a Blu-ray player in all its HD glory.
Some DVD players will be compatible with AVCHD soon, too, so you'll be able to play that footage back through them, too, albeit down-rezzed to standard definition. There's also an HDMI port, so you can just feed the footage from the camera into any HDTV, and eliminate the need for Blu-ray player at all.
We had a chance to play with a non-working prototype of this camera at PMA, and found its rounded shape to fit perfectly in our hands. The size of the camera is so small it just about fits in your palm, but it's a little too big to put into a pocket.
Canon reps told us that this camera represents a paradigm shift, where the content is separated from its media. In this case it's recorded on a DVD but it could be recorded onto a flash drive or hard disc as well. The MPEG4-based H.264 AVCHD footage is just data, and Canon explained that all the acquisition modes are just routes to a computer hard drive, where the footage can be edited.
Until recently, there weren't many options for editing this nascent format, but now software manufacturers are starting to release applications that can actually edit AVCHD data without transcoding, such as the Ulead VideoStudio 11 application we showed you last week.
Canon is supplying this DVD acquisition mode first, hinting that it plans to also offer this same technology with flash memory and hard disk storage, too. Canon reps also told us the HR10's DVDs won't play back on HD DVD drives yet, but the company may implement that capability in the future.
The HR10 HD camcorder will be available in August, and will retail for $US1199.
Press Release [Canon]