What is AVCHD Format

AVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition) is a file-based format for the digital recording and playback of high-definition video. Developed jointly by Sony and Panasonic, the format was introduced in 2006 primarily for use in high definition consumer camcorders. Favorable comparisons of AVCHD against HDV and XDCAM EX solidified perception of AVCHD as a format acceptable for professional use. Both Panasonic and Sony released the first consumer AVCHD camcorders in spring of 2007.

Panasonic released the first AVCHD camcorder aimed at the professional market in 2008, though it was nothing more than the (by then discontinued) FLASH card consumer model rebadged with a different model number. In 2011 the AVCHD specification was amended to include 1080-line 50-frame/s and 60-frame/s modes (AVCHD Progressive) and stereoscopic video (AVCHD 3D). The new modes require double the video data rate than previous modes. AVCHD and its logo are trademarks of Sony and Panasonic.

AVCHD content also can make use of SD and SDHC cards, or even hard disk drives if the recording equipment supports it. AVCHD video is recorded using the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression codec, the same now used with most Blu-ray Disc. Dolby Digital (AC3) audio or uncompressed PCM audio is supported. Multimedia content is multiplexed together as an MPEG-2 Transport Stream. The format takes on its competitors by adding features to AVCHD, such as menu support that is DVD-Video reminiscent, subtitles and slide shows.

AVCHD supports a variety of video resolutions and scanning methods, which was further extended with the 2011 amendment of the specification. The licensing body of the specification defines a variety of labels for products compliant with specific features. Most AVCHD camcorders support only a handful of the video and audio formats allowed in the AVCHD standard. Most AVCHD camcorders record audio using Dolby Digital (AC-3) compression scheme. Stereo and multichannel audio is supported. Audio data rate can range from 64 kbit/s to 640 kbit/s. In practice, data rates of 256 kbit/s and 384 kbit/s have been observed. Some professional models allow recording uncompressed linear PCM audio.


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