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Your Guide to Sony DV and MiniDV Video Recorders and Players

DV and MiniDV video recorders and players are a digital video standard commonly used to record and play back media from a camcorder. Although designed for professional and broadcast applications, the format can be used for home or amateur use as well. Whether you're preparing to shoot a wedding video or are considering making a short film, new and pre-owned Sony DV and MiniDV video recorders and players can be purchased for reasonable prices on eBay.

How much video can a MiniDV tape store?

All DV files are recorded onto a magnetic tape. There are a few different sizes of tapes. MiniDV is the smallest DV format available. A single cassette tape can hold approximately 13GB of data. That is equivalent to about an hour of footage on standard quality or 90 minutes on extended play. Cassettes that run for 80 minutes on standard play or 120 minute on extended play are also available. Due to their small size, MiniDV cassettes are used for recording primarily for their convenience and portability.

What kind of compression technique is used?

When you capture footage, the DV format uses lossy compression for video, while the audio is completely uncompressed. Lossy compression means that some data is lost in the compression process. The quality of the file is diminished somewhat, but the size is also reduced, making it easier to store. A process known as intraframe video compression is used to compress the file frame by frame.

For standard-definition files, the DV format is noted for its relative quality. It has a data rate of 25 Mb/s, compared to the 3.8 Mb/s of a standard DVD. A few other digital formats such as DVCAM and DVCPRO are related to DV and have approximately the same data rate. DVCAM was created by Sony. However, their players are compatible with all formats. The versatile player also comes with additional features for editing, playback, and processing digital video.

Can Sony's DV players transfer video directly to a computer?

Yes, some DV players are equipped with FireWire and possibly a USB port for transferring video or pictures directly to a computer. The footage may appear in one of the following formats:

  • Raw DV: This is a raw DV format.
  • DV-AVI: A DV file wrapped into an AVI container.
  • QuickTime-DV: A DV file wrapped into a QuickTime container. This is primarily used in Apple computers or any system with QuickTime.
  • MXF-DV: A DV file wrapped into an MXF container. This is sometimes used on Sony camcorders.
Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sony.
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