Hitachi has announced the arrival of the world's first Blu-ray camcorders, offering 1920x1080-pixel HD recording onto miniature BD-R (recordable Blu-ray) discs. And in a parallel move, recording media companies Imation and Verbatim heralded the arrival of the blank discs the camcorders will use.

Two models are on the way, in Japan this month and with a roll-out into the US market planned for October, although at the moment there's no news about UK availability.

The machines use 5.2-megapixel CMOS sensors and record to 8cm Blu-ray discs, as well as offering still image capture to SD cards. An HDMI output is provided for playback of recordings on a suitable TV, and the machines can also record standard definition video onto 8cm DVD-R discs.

The launch models are the DZ-BD70A, which will sell for $1299 in the States, and allows up to an hour of recording onto a blank 8cm Blu-ray, and the flagship DZ-BD7HA ($1499).

The pricier model adds a 30GB hard drive capable of recording up to four hours of HD or eight of standard definition. Recordings can be dubbed from the hard disk to blank media in the camcorder, as is the case with the company's existing standard definition hard-drive camcorders.

At the same time, Imation and Verbatim have announced the availabiility of blank 8cm Blu-ray discs. The discs have a capacity of 7.5GB, and can store an hour of 1920x1080i video, or two hours of 1440x1080i. Two versions are available: BD-R is a one-shot recording medium, while BD-RE is erasable and rewritable.

Verbatim says its discs will launch in the States at $20, while Imation will be marketing the discs under the TDK brand, acquisition of which it confirmed earlier this week, at $24.99 for BD-R discs and $34.99 for the -RE variant.

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