HDR-FX1 digital high-def camcorder
Toshiyuki Aizawa  /  Reuters
High-definition video packs four times as much information than a standard camcorder, Sony said.
updated 9/7/2004 8:42:57 PM ET 2004-09-08T00:42:57

Japanese electronics and entertainment giant Sony Corp. showed Tuesday a camcorder that takes video at digital high-definition quality for the home.

The 2 kilogram (4.4 pounds) HDR-FX1, set to go on sale next month in Japan and before the end of the year globally, sells for about 400,000 yen (US$3,600; euro 3,000).

It can play current digital video cassette tapes for format compatibility with older models. But Sony will also start selling a video cassette that's best suited for high-definition digital recordings.

Sony plans to ship 5,000 of the camcorders a month in Japan. It did not give a sales target for other nations.

"Recording precious images at the best visual quality is important and the demand for that is sure to spread around the world," Sony Vice President Shoji Nemoto told reporters at a Tokyo hotel.

A more affordable model is likely to follow, Nemoto said, but he declined to say when that would be available.

The high-end offering, which Sony said was a world first as a high-definition camcorder for consumers, is instrumental for profitability at a time when camcorder prices are rapidly coming down, according to Sony.

The HDR-FX1 showcases Sony's newly developed computer chips that can efficiently process digital images, the Tokyo-based company said.

Sony showed a live video image of an open book taken on a standard camcorder next to one on the HDR-FX1, and even the small print on words that looked like blurs on the older model could be read more clearly on the new machine.

High-definition video packs four times as much information than a standard camcorder, Sony said. Other products such as Wega monitors and the Blu-ray disc recorder are part of a package of Sony offerings that work with the new camcorder for high-quality home videos, Nemoto said.

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