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Sony launches Bluetooth camcorders

Transfer digital video without cables... but slowly

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Sony today launched two digital video cameras capable of transferring movies and stills across a Bluetooth wireless link.

The two cameras, the DCR-PC120 and the DCR-IP7 - the former a regular DV machine; the latter based on MPEG 2 - can send content direct to any computer with a Bluetooth card, all without cables. It sounds appealing, but we wonder how long it will take to transfer movies this way.

An IEEE-1394 cable can send a movie at 400Mbps. Bluetooth is somewhat slower, something the technology's promotional Web site doesn't seem to keen on admitting - FAQs and Flash intros alike don't reveal Bluetooth's data transfer rate.

Persevering, we found it: Bluetooth has a maximum throughput of 1Mbps, though this drops to 721Kbps if space is left for voice channels. Transfer some footage this way, and it'll take a darn sight longer than the time it takes to faff around plugging in a 1394 cable and then zapping the data over.

Still, Sony's move is a step in the right direction of establishing Bluetooth as a workable cabling replacement, particularly given the number of false starts Bluetooth has had during its history.

The DCR-IP7 will go on sale in Japan on 10 October for ¥190,000 ($1577). The DCR-PC120 will cost ¥170,000, and ship on 10 September. ®

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