High Definition Has Arrived

By: Steve Cownley

A while back, Sony, Sharp, Canon and JVC announced the creation of a new high definition video standard for video cameras - HDV. HDV utilizes MPEG-2 image compression with a definition of 1080 lines and a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Shortly after that, Sony opened the door to high definition by creating the first HDV camcorder, the HDR-FX1. This release was on par with the launch of the first DV camcorder in 1995, which at the time was a giant step forward for image quality,
marking the break from traditional analog.

At the time, consumers were moving from the Hi8 format to DV, which featured much better image quality, along with the ability to transfer to a computer without any degradation of signal. With HDV, the resolution of camcorders can be doubled,
from 576 lines to 1080. The compression method is no longer DV, but MPEG 2 instead.

HDV exists in two formats - 1080i (interlaced) and 720p (progressive). With interlaced, the video camera records 1080 lines in interlaced images, which is half images of 540 lines each that are displayed 60 times per second.

With 720 progressive, the video camera records 720 lines in progressive images, which are full images that are displayed 30 times per second. Sony chose to use 1080i on the HDR-FX1, where JVC chose to use 720p for the GR-HD1, which is sold only in NTSC format in the USA and Japan.

The progressive mode format requires a television set that supports it, while interlaced mode is the natural scan mode that televisions use. The question today is which of the two formats deliver the best image quality.

With several high definition video cameras on the market today, the question of image quality all depends on the camera and features, along with your television or method of play back. All high definition video cameras are amazing in quality
and playback, which is why they have become so popular is such a small amount of time.

With Sony, JVC, and Canon continuing to develop HDV, you know the technology will continue to get better and better. When high definition first hit the market, it was an instant success. With the integration of HDV, camcorders allow you to
do what you never could before.

If you like to record precious memories, a high definition video camera is just what you need. They are very handy to have around, and there are several out there these days for you to choose from - all you need to do is pick the best one for you.

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