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CE giants 'readying Blu-ray camcorders'

HD-oriented handhelds to use new, 8cm disc

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Sony, Sharp and Matsushita plan to offer camcorders based on a cut-down version of the Blu-ray Disc, and could announce product as early as next year.

According to Japanese newspaper the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the three companies are working on an 8cm rewriteable disc, reducing the size from the more common CD/DVD-sized 12cm disc, the better to fit the discs into a handheld unit. The downside is a reduction in storage capacity, to 15GB - 60 per cent of the 25GB standard Blu-ray capacity.

Whether the units will be pitched at professionals, consumers or both isn't known. It's not clear either if they plan to promote the machines as high-definition video devices or simply as high-capacity storage products, but an HD-TV emphasis seems more likely.

HD camcorders are already available, but they use tape rather than disc as their storage medium and their high price tag puts them more in the pro-sumer realm than the consumer space occupied by today's DV and DVD camcorders.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun suggested that the Blu-ray camcorders are likely to be priced to match today's HD cameras, indicating they will be pro-oriented products. ®

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