Who needs Blu-ray or HD-DVD, laughs Sony, which plans to take the wraps off its first HD (high-definition) camcorder compatible with the new AVCHD format next Wednesday.

AVCHD has been developed by Sony and Panasonic as a way to allow HD video to be stored on 8cm DVDs. Conventional DVDs don't support HD video but the new HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc optical formats are not yet mature enough for use in camcorders.

That means camcorder makers such as Sony have used DV cassettes and hard-disk drives in current HD camcorders. However, sales figures show consumers much prefer the simplicity of DVD-based camcorders to those that use tape or hard-disk: hence the creation of AVCHD.

Licensing of version 1.0 of the format has just begun and the format has attracted support from several rival camcorder makers including Canon, Pioneer, Samsung and Sharp.