Sony's Music Video Recorder sounds like some horribly out-of-touch YouTube generation nonsense, but the goofy gimmick is actually a slick little package that pairs high-quality audio powers with video. We're intrigued.
In part, what we're looking at with the HDR-MV1 is a high-quality audio recorder of the type that has been on the market for years. They're useful for everything from high-quality voice recordings to taping concerts and live events. They're perfect versatile field recorders that you can usually buy for about $US200. (The Olympus LS-10 I bought a few years ago is one of the most useful tools I own — and that's just one of many great little recorders.)
To make the MV1, Sony has taken that time-proven package and thrown on a simple camcorder and Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity to make a combo gadget that's a lot more useful than you'd initially think. Total price: $US300.
The MV1 comes with built-in stereo microphones installed in an external X-Y configuration that records a more accurate field of sound than your standard built-in mics. The recorder captures very high-quality, 48K/16-bit audio, but instead of storing it in uncompressed WAV format, the audio is wrapped into an MPEG format so that it can be paired with video. There is an audio-only recording mode that captures uncompressed WAV files as well. The MV1 also has an 1/8-inch line-in jack so you can use a higher-quality microphone if you'd like. As with any serious recorder, the MV1 has a headphone jack so you can monitor your audio to make sure levels are coming in correctly.
On the video side of things, the MVR stocks a 1/2.3-inch image sensor that's capable of recording both 1920x1080 or 1280x720 HD video at 30fps. And because the MV1 is a product of its times, the NFC-aided Wi-Fi connectivity is supposed to make sharing recorded video with the world over YouTube and social networks easy. A downside, perhaps, of the share-ready video capabilities is that the camera's best recording codec is AVC/H.264 — no AVCHD for you.
The MV1 is tiny, just like an old handheld audio recorder. It's hard to say whether video really adds a lot to this package or whether it turns it into a combo that's more gadget than is useful. One thing we're guessing you're not going to do with it: shoot music videos.