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Video Guide Part 1: Market Situation and Applications

Digital Cameras

This encoder virtually attains VHS video quality with a data rate just under 2,000 kbps. The quality of videos in MPEG-1 format is adequate for most applications. The only downside compared with MPEG-2 is the limited maximum resolution of 352 x 240 pixels. More aspiring home users and video freaks with a high-performance PC should instead look at more suitable video editing boards with a digital interface. Models such as the Fast DV Master Pro - which however, costs about $2,900 - or the Pinnacle DV300 have an IEEE-1394 interface which allows you to connect a digital video camera (acceptable models cost over $1,200) via a 'FireWire'. In comparison with video editing boards with analog inputs, such as Fast's AV Master, the transmission of audio and video data to the PC is practically without losses. The possibilities available to home users are summarized in the following table.

A large number of inexpensive video cameras with digital recording (mini DV format) are on offer, especially for the consumer market. The magical price barrier for introductory models is around $1,200. In this field, the trend is strongly towards digital technology. In comparison, cameras with analog technology are on offer in the price range under $500. The advantages of models with digital technology are quite clear: the size and weight of the camera are radically reduced through the use of compact digital components. In addition, it is possible to connect the camera to a PC via the digital IEEE-1394 interface (FireWire). The market leader for digital video cameras is Sony, who simultaneously offers a broad palette of models in all price ranges. Digital video recorders are expensive, costing about $2,900 and they are mainly intended for professional video studios.