Q: The history of AVCHD

A: XDCAM, one of the first professional tapeless video systems. The format used Professional Disc as recording media. The cost of media was comparable to other professional formats that existed at that time, and was prohibitively high for a consumer version of such a camera.

In April 2004 Sony mentioned the possibility of expanding XDCAM format or its variants into consumer market. Rick Clancy, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Sony stated that XDCAM is more of a higher end professional HD product, and future consumer tapeless camcorders would be based on the less expensive Blu-ray format. Similar to Professional Disc, Blu-ray Disc format is based on blue-violet laser technology, but disks are single-sided, do not have protective cartridge, made of cheaper material and deliver lower data rates.

In September 2004 Sony augmented Blu-ray Disc specification with AVC and VC-1 video codecs in addition to existing MPEG-2 codec. New codecs provided more efficient compression and allowed using lower data rates, meaning longer movies could be stored on the same disc.

In May 2006 Panasonic and Sony jointly announced AVCHD as a tapeless high definition recording format. The format was based on existing Blu-ray Disc specification and allowed recording AVC-encoded video onto optical disks. 8 cm DVD disks were chosen as recording media instead of considerably more expensive Blu-ray disks. In July 2006 the format was amended to include other types of random-access media, like SD/SDHC memory cards, "Memory Stick" cards and hard disk drives. Blu-ray disks were not included in the list of officially supported media.

The first AVCHD camcorder, Sony Handycam HDR-UX1, went on sale in September 2006 and used 8 cm DVD media. Panasonic released its two first AVCHD camcorders in spring 2007, the HDC-DX1 used 8 cm DVD media, the HDC-SD1 became the first AVCHD camcorder to record to SD/SDHC solid-state media. Canon supported the new video format with the HR10 that recorded to 8 cm DVD media, and with the HG10 that recorded onto a built-in hard disk drive. Until recently JVC was promoting its own TOD format, but joined AVCHD camp by releasing AVCHD-capable camcorders in April 2008.

Sign-up Our Newsletters

Receive the latest version release notice, sale promotion, and news about hit movies/tv shows. (Our Opt-in confirmation is occasionally identified as Spam. You might need to find and mark it as "Not Spam")