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Sony Launches Micro Camcorders, DV Walkman Deck

Company Thinks Small With Diminutive Digital Camcorder, DV Walkman By Charlie White
Sony DV CamcorderSony introduced new micro-sized camcorders and a tiny DV Walkman VCR at CES in Las Vegas. The company calls its DCR-IP5 and the DCR-IP7BT Handycam camcorders the world's smallest and lightest full-function digital camcorders. The two diminutive models offer 500 lines of horizontal resolution, CD-quality sound and a DVD-like thumbnail picture accessing feature that allows users to select and retrieve information on the tape with the touch of a button. The company also introduced the GV-D1000 MiniDV Video Walkman VCR, a small DV deck that takes viewing, editing and recording video and still images out of the editing suite and on-location.

MICROMV
The MICROMV cassettes used by the new micro-camcorders are 70 percent smaller than MiniDV tapes and allow for the camcorders' tiny size. Weighing just 12 ounces, and measuring a mere 1 7/8 inches x 4 inches x 3 1/8 inches, both of the new miniature models easily fit in the palm of your hand, a purse, even a shirt pocket.


"People want lightweight products they can take with them and use every day, so they can enjoy the benefits of the latest technology anywhere," said Takashi Kondo, senior vice president of the Digital Imaging Products Division at Sony Electronics.

Beyond its diminutive size, the MICROMV cassette provides up to 60 minutes of high-quality, digital video footage and adds a 64-kb memory chip, offering 16 times the amount of memory storage available on a premium MiniDV cassette. The memory chip allows for a multi-search function that lets users access different sections of the tape as they would a DVD by creating thumbnail images of all of the recorded scenes on the tape. The thumbnail images are created from the start of every recorded scene. Users can engage the multi-picture search function, scan the entire tape in four minutes -- 15 times the average speed -- and instantly access the scene of their choice.

To further enhance the user experience, thumbnail images can be titled with either pre-set captions or customized descriptions, so "New Years Eve" footage is easily distinguishable from that of "Our Super Bowl Party."

Lastly, each time a MICROMV cassette is inserted into the camcorder, cassette information is automatically displayed on the LCD showing the first date of use, last date of use, how much recording space is available on the tape, and titling capability so you can name your videotape. This feature eliminates the need to search through a box of unlabeled tapes to find specific video footage.

MICROMV Camcorders: PC-Friendly, High-Quality MPEG2
The new camcorders' operation is based on their use of a sophisticated MPEG2 recording system. Digital video is recorded in MPEG2 with a data transfer rate of 12Mbps. Since MPEG2 has a bit-rate that is less than half that of the MiniDV or Digital8 format, MICROMV videos take up less hard drive space and are easier to manage. MPEG2's compression system allows for the use of much more compact media. It also sets a new standard in picture and audio quality, and enables quick PC-based non-linear editing using simple drag-and-drop techniques. Editing movies is a breeze with these MICROMV camcorders and the supplied MPEG2-compatible MovieShaker software, version 3.1.

Memory Stick Media and Internet Access with Bluetooth Technology
Using Bluetooth wireless technology with the new DCR-IP7BT Network Handycam camcorder, the Internet can be accessed without a PC. This network feature can be used in three ways. First, the feature will allow you to upload still images and MPEG video from Memory Stick media directly to Sony's ImageStation(sm) on-line photo sharing service. At ImageStation.com, you can create a Web album and e-mail invitations to family and friends for on-line viewing.

Second, send text e-mail messages of more than 500 characters with attached still images and MPEG video can be sent directly from the camcorder to a friend's inbox. The DCR-IP7BT model can also receive text messages of up to 1,024 characters.

And third, the DCR-IP7BT camcorder allows Web browsing and viewing on the camcorder's LCD display. Web pages can be downloaded to the supplied 8MB Memory Stick(R) media for quick, easy access when off-line.

To initiate the network feature, the supplied Bluetooth network adaptor is connected to an analog phone line. The camcorder wirelessly communicates with the adaptor, which can be placed up to 30 feet away.

Purchasers of the DCR-IP7BT camcorder can take advantage of a special service from Sony designed for easy set-up and connection to the Internet. More information about the service will be available later next month when the product is launched.

Features for MICROMV Camcorders

-- 2.5" Precision SwivelScreen, Hybrid LCD Display -- The LCD provides excellent viewing clarity with 211,000 pixels and the hybrid system allows for visibility in challenging lighting situations. By turning off the LCD backlight, the LCD will capture more ambient light to virtually eliminate LCD "wash-out."

-- i.LINK MICROMV Interface -- The MICROMV i.LINK(R) (IEEE 1394) DV interface allows for high speed bi-directional digital communication between two devices equipped with a MICROMV i.LINK interface, including compatible PCs (Windows ME/2000 and later) with the supplied MovieShaker 3.1 software and other MICROMV Handycam camcorders.

-- Super SteadyShot Picture Stabilization -- Using motion sensors to compensate for camera-shake, this Worry-Free feature enhances video and eliminates high-frequency vibration without compromising picture quality to reduce blurred images during shaky camera situations.

-- Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar Lens -- Carl Zeiss lenses have an advanced optical multi-layer coating offering less glare and flare with increased contrast. This results in vivid image brilliance, true-to-life color saturation, and precise renditions of subtle tones.

-- MPEG Movie AD Mode -- MPEG Movie AD captures MPEG1 compressed video and audio directly to the Memory Stick media in four different modes: Light, Standard, Fine and Super Fine. You can record up to 280 seconds of MPEG1 clips to share with family and friends via the Internet.

-- 10X Optical/120X Precision Digital Zoom -- Sony's optical zoom not only brings the action closer but the precision digital zoom uses interpolation technology to make digital zooming cleaner, with less distortion than conventional digital zooms.
The new DCR-IP5 and the DCR-IP7BT camcorders will both be available in early February for about $1,300 and $1,700, respectively.

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Related Keywords:DV Format, camcorder, sony, CES, DV walkman VCR, miniDV, GV-D1000, DCR-IP5, DCR-IP7BT

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