Whether you realize it or not, another format war is on the horizon. No, we're not talking next-gen optical; this time we're talking about consumer level cameras storing HD footage. HDV is the older kid on the block, using MiniDV tapes, but last year Sony, Panasonic and some others started championing the MPEG-4 based AVCHD format for consumers. Now, Sony's hedging it's bets by releasing two new AVCHD cams, and two HDV cams. Sony's UX model HD cams record to DVD and use the AVCHD standard, while the HC series supports HDV and records to MiniDV. The heavyweights, the HDR-UX7and the HDR-HC7, rock out with three megapixel CMOS sensors for vid and take six megapixel stills stored on MemoryStickDuo Pro. They've also got microphone inputs, perfect for you budding Uwe Bolls out there. Meanwhile, the lighter weight HDR-UX5 and HDR-HC5 have a weaker CMOS with two megapixels for vids and a four megapixels for stills, plus they're sans mic-in.

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Sony unveils four new consumer HD cams