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In 2003 Sony introduced XDCAM, one of the first professional tapeless video systems. The format used Professional Disc as recording media. The cost of media was comparable to other professional formats that existed at that time, and was prohibitively high for a consumer version of such a camera.

In April 2004 Sony mentioned the possibility of expanding XDCAM format or its variants into consumer market. Rick Clancy, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Sony stated that XDCAM is more of a higher end professional HD product, and future consumer tapeless camcorders would be based on the less expensive Blu-ray format.[1] Similar to Professional Disc, Blu-ray Disc format is based on blue-violet laser technology, but discs are single-sided, do not have protective cartridge, are made of cheaper material and deliver lower data rates.[2] 


In September 2004 Sony augmented Blu-ray Disc specification with AVC and VC-1 video codecs in addition to existing MPEG-2 codec. New codecs provided more efficient compression and allowed using lower data rates, meaning longer movies could be stored on the same disc.[3]

In May 2006 Panasonic and Sony jointly announced AVCHD as a tapeless high definition recording format. The format was based on existing Blu-ray Disc specification and allowed recording AVC-encoded video onto optical discs. 8 cm DVD discs were chosen as recording media instead of considerably more expensive Blu-ray discs.[4]

In July 2006 the format was amended to include other types of random-access media, like SD/SDHC memory cards, "Memory Stick" cards and hard disk drives. Blu-ray discs were not included in the list of supported media.[5]

The first AVCHD camcorder, Sony Handycam HDR-UX1, went on sale in September 2006 and recorded on 8 cm DVD media. Panasonic followed in spring 2007, releasing the HDC-SD1, the first AVCHD camcorder to record to SD/SDHC solid-state media, as well as a more conventional DVD-based model, the HDC-DX1. First Canon models included the HG10, with built-in hard disk drive storage, and the DVD-based HR10. JVC, which had been promoting its proprietary TOD video-format, finally introduced AVCHD-capable camcorders in April 2008.

In October 2008 Panasonic released the first professional AVCHD camcorder, the AG-HMC150. This is the first AVCHD camcorder that is capable of recording in all three high definition formats: 1080i, 1080p and 720p.

In January 2009 Panasonic came up with AVCHD Lite trademark, which identifies devices that are capable of 720p recording only.[6]

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