Consumer high-definition video format due soon

Four Japanese electronics companies are planning to publish detailed specifications for a consumer high-definition digital video format in October, they said Tuesday.

The companies, Canon, Sharp, Sony, and Victor Company of Japan (JVC), got together earlier this year to produce the basic specifications for the format, which has been given the tentative name of HDV.

Based on the DV and MiniDV formats used in many consumer camcorders and digital video equipment, HDV also has numerous features common to both, such as the same cassette tape, tape speed and track pitch. That means it can use some of the same mechanical components already in production today for DV and MiniDV devices.

Video is recorded in MPEG2 (Motion Pictures Expert Group) and the system supports both 720 horizontal line progressive scan, with 1,280 vertical pixels, or 1,080-horizontal line interlaced scan video, with 1,440 vertical pixels, both at widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. Video data rates after compression are around 19M bps (bits per second) for 720p video and 25M bps for 1080i video, the companies said in a statement.

After publishing basic specifications in July this year, the group said it has already received a number of expressions of support for the standard including from: Adobe Systems, Canopus, KDDI R&D Laboratories, Sony Pictures Digital Networks and Ulead Systems.

The four companies plan to release detailed specifications of the format, called HDV, sometime in October, they said in a statement.

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