Sony HDR-HC1: A Quantum Leap For Video Buffs

Mini-DV Tapes: No need for upgrade

The Sony HC1 writes DV and HD video to compatible Mini-DV tapes. During HD recording, an MPEG-2 data stream at 3.6 MB/s is created and captured.

Large department and electronics store employees usually tell customers buying an HD video camera that the standard (Premium) Mini-DV cassette tapes are not designed for recording hi-definition video. One salesperson we dealt with went even further, claiming that image errors, interruptions, and flicker would occur, and recommended that we buy the much more expensive "Excellence Series" Mini-DV cassettes. However, results from our test labs showed no difference between the two types of digital video tapes. That said, it is at least conceivable that heavy use of Premium Series Mini-DV tapes might make them more subject to image disturbances such as drop-outs. This is particularly true when the same tape is erased and re-recorded many times.

Cheaper Premium Mini-DV cassettes can handle HD video recordings as well as conventional DV. As always, the data stream is written to tape using helical scan technology.

Costs more, but adds nothing to image quality: Mini-DV cassettes from the Exellence series. Compared to normal DV cassettes, there's no discernable difference in video quality.