Ever since the introduction of the VX700 in 1995, which was the first digital camcorder from Sony's non-professional division, we've all been waiting for a truly good HD model, that was small and affordable. My advice to those itching to get an SR-11/SR-12, is to wait just a couple more weeks, until a few full, professional reviews come out. Despite assurances from some early-adopters, there's a great deal of uncertainty about all the aspects of these radically different models.
If only the camcorder manufacturers had stuck to the original HD specifications that were written into the DV format, at the beginning. DV-100HD would have doubled the tape speed and number of recording heads used for SD-DV and raised the carrier frequency from 13.5 MHz to 23 MHz, to quadruple the bit-rate. This would have given a 30-minute recording time for mini-DV cassettes. As a matter of fact, the DV Consortium planned this format to be primarily for high-definition. Only when delays in being able to commercially develop the HD equipment occured, did they bring out the SD version, so they would be able to start showing some profits. Somewhere along the way, what might have been an outstanding HD format, was lost and eventually replaced with the highly-compressed HDV. This M-PEG2 format uses an interframe compression scheme, with 15-frame packets, that are dependent on one fully-encoded key frame in the middle. If any part of the packet has a glitch, you get a half-second dropout (at least). Not that I'm complaining about HDV, as it gives a lot of performance for its cost and 60 minutes on a tiny cassette. The proposed DV-100HD, would have had the same intraframe type of compression that SD-DV uses, where each frame is fully encoded and depends on no others for its content. With the dropout-correction technology that has allowed DV to show so few on-screen glitches, DV-100HD could have been superior to HDV in both image quality and dependability. Too good, in fact, for hoi polloi like us, and is the likely reason we never saw it come into existence. Many of the professional and broadcast formats are the ones that now use a 100 Mbps compression for HD-video. I don't favor sacrificing video quality to get more recording time and to reduce camcorder and recording media size. But apparently, the manufacturers see just the opposite in what would be most appealing to the majority of potential customers.