Friday, December 17, 2010

Media Player for Sanyo 60p Videos - Update

Since my last post on this was in March, it is time to give an update on this item. Based on feedback from the comments here and in other forums, it would seem that all HD media players are now able to play the 60p videos from the Sanyo HD2000 or FH1. Just make sure that they are new models using the current chipsets as older models (like the 1st generation WDTV) cannot play these videos. But to be sure, bring along a 60p video clip and do a physical test on the player you intend to purchase.

For those thinking of getting a HD Media Player, you can refer to
my Blog here, just updated, for a quick guide. There is a new companion Blog on choosing a HDTV if you do not have one yet. Both items are necessary to enjoy the fruits of your shooting labor with the HD2000. Have fun!

Ronald Kwok

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hail and Wail to Sanyo

I was hoping that in 2010, Sanyo will release an improved version of the HD2000/FH1 with the long awaited optical image stabilization (OIS) which will make this series a top buy. Anyway, it did not happen and looks like it never will. The new models released do not have OIS and in fact the resolution has dropped to just 1920x1080i and they are aimed at a different market. This is understandable since Sanyo has been acquired by Panasonic and they do not want to compete in the same market segment. The latest Panasonic 700 series has now the 1920x1080p (60p) resolution, presumable using the Sanyo technology and they are getting rave reviews for the video quality.

We owners of the HD2000/FH1 have been enjoying the 60p resolution much earlier and looks like this series will not be continued. It is not perfect but it has many innovative features. Only now the latest Sony series can copy to an external HDD without using a PC calling it Direct Copy; Sanyo already have it earlier as part of the Xacti Library.

I recently got myself the Sony XR350E camcorder since I needed one with a HDD for my travels. It definitely beats the Sanyo HD2000 with its rock steady image stabilization and solid auto-focus and after using it, only then I realized there are plenty of neat features in the Sanyo that are not available in the Sony though it costs substantially more.

So hang-on to your Sanyo camcorders if you have one and those without should get yourself a HD2000/FH1 while it is still available as this will reach cult status or become a collector’s item soon. Happy shooting!

Ronald Kwok

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sanyo HD2000 vs Sony XR350E

After playing with the HD2000 for some time, I feel that I must move to something better. Better in the area of image stabilisation and auto-focus, the major setbacks of the HD2000. The camcorder that I opted for is the latest Sony XR350E and the reasons I chose this are in my new Blog on this videocamera. I'll be going for holiday in Germany (leaving tomorrow itself) using this Sony while my wife will be using her Sanyo so it will be a real shoot-out. I'll report the results later in June when I am back. So meanwhile, sit tight and enjoy using your own camcorder that is right for you. Cheers.

Ronald Kwok.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spare Battery and Charger

Since I am just a casual camcorder user (actually the HD2000 is not even mine, it belongs to my wife), I do not have much accessories for it. The first accessory that I bought together with the HD2000 is a UV filter. This is for protecting the lens more than anything else from greasy fingers, dirt and the outside world. When you need to, it is much easier to clean the filter than the lens itself. The one that I bought is Kenko made but the more well-known and popular (and so more costly) brand is Hoya. I suppose any reasonable brand will do as it is just a protective piece of glass but purists may disagree. The only important point to note is that the diameter of the thread on the lens of the HD2000 is 40.5mm so you must get the correct size filter. The one on the Sanyo FH1 is slightly smaller at 37.0mm so make sure you pick the right size.

The only other accessories that I have is a spare battery and a battery charger. Thought the battery itself can last reasonably long for some normal shooting, it may not be enough if you are on holiday where you tend to be trigger happy. Nothing can be worse than your battery running out at a crucial moment. The original Sanyo replacement battery for the HD2000 or FH1 is model DB L50. I do not know why, but the Kodak battery model KLIC 5001 is exactly the same item and can be used perfectly as a replacement battery if you want a branded one and this could be cheaper and more easily available than the Sanyo.

Of course there are many nameless replacement batteries, especially those from China and these are much cheaper than the Kodak or Sanyo battery. Buying such nameless battery can be a hit or a miss and there are some horror stories around. But there are also many satisfied customers, for after all so many items are now made in China, most probably the Sanyo and the Kodak as well.

The same goes for the charger. The original Sanyo charger is model VAR-L50 and this is the one to go for if you want peace of mind and don't mind spending a bit more. The cheaper alternative is to go for those unbranded chargers which can do the job equally well but don't know for how long. Do a search on Amazon or other reliable sellers and pick one with the price that suits you and you should be OK. But the choice is yours if you are more comfortable with the branded originals.

Being a cheapskate, I went for a Chinese replacement battery for Kodak KLIC 5001 and a nameless charger. I was very apprehensive in the beginning, but after going through a few charging cycles, everything was OK; touch wood! Initially, the idea was that the replacement battery will only be charged with the charger and the original battery will only be charged in the camcorder via the docking station to protect the innocents. After a while, anything goes and they all seem to be happy with each other. So much for mixed marriages.

And so they live happily ever after. Hopefully!

Ronald Kwok

Sunday, March 14, 2010

HD Media Player Blog

Since I have just purchased a HD Media Player to play the Full HR 60p videos, I started a new blog on Media Player as I see many users are bewildered by the wide variety of HD Media Player available in the market. You are most welcome to view this Media Player Blog and leave your comments there.
BTW, a reader has commented that the HDTV Live can also play the Full HR videos without problem so Sanyo HD2000/FH1 owners has more choices when picking a media player for their home videos.

Ronald Kwok

Friday, March 5, 2010

Media Player for 60p Videos

Eureka! At last I have found a media player (in fact many media players) that can play the Full HR video of the HD2000 at 1920x1080, 60p resolution. I was at my favourite IT mall the other day and I tested my 60p videos at the Asus O!Play HDP-R1 media player that was on demo. It played the clip without any problem. Then I went to another shop and tested the video on a Hornettek Phantom media player. Again, the clip played fine. Thus my search is finally over.

Upon further reading, I found that both these media players are using the Realtek 1073DD chip and so we now have so many media players to choose from if we want to play the Full HR videos; as long as the media player is using the same chip, the Realtek 1073DD, it should be able to play the videos. The only major difference will be the physical built of the player including the casing and the output/input connection options. Many of the GUI used are very similar if not exactly the same, especially those from China. Below are some of the more popular brands of media player that are using the Realtek 1073DD chip, in alphabetical order. This excludes those media players that use the other major chip, the Sigma 86XX like the WDTV. If user of these players (using the Sigma 86XX chip) can confirm that they too can play the Full HR videos, then we Sanyo camcorder owners will even have more choices. The earlier WDTV cannot, as noted in my earlier post.

Anyway, here's the list of some of those that can play the Full HR video.

1. AC Ryan PlayOn
2. Apacer AL460
3. Asus O!Play
4. DViCO Tvix N1
5. Hornettek Phantom
6. MSI Movie Station
7. Patriot Box Office

As media players are getting more popular by the day, there are new models coming out by the day as well. So apart from the physical look of the unit, you may decide based on the price and the bells and whistles that come with it. So how do you choose one that is right for you? Well, I think that will be a good topic for my next new Blog!

BTW, I'll be getting one of these Realtek 1073DD media player myself to play my HD2000 videos. Which model will it be? Well, watch for my review soon once it arrives.

Ronald Kwok

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Uncompressed video from HDMI out

One of my readers, Ultraman38 has commented in my post, "Burning DVD's and File Size (dated May 6, 2009)" that it is possible to capture uncompressed video by using a video capture card such as the Blackmagic Intensity, from the HDMI output port of the HD2000. Several comments later another reader Khalis, commented that he is also trying to do the same thing. Since I am a stranger to this stuff, I think it is best that I start a new post on this to enable easy access for Ultraman38 and Khalis as well as other readers who may be interested in the same subject,. Otherwise this stuff may be hidden under that old post and escape the attention of other interested readers. Thus I have reproduced the relevant comments on this subject verbatim from that old post below.

Here goes. Quote.

1. Ultraman38
its so awesome that the cradle has HDMI out, Im doin some research and finding using a capture card such as the one made by Blackmagic Intensity Pro can really make a diff. The video is somehow compressed when recording to the SDHC card, but if you have it connected to HDMI with the BM card you can capture up to 1080i/59.99 fps uncompressed! It will require a RAID video card w/ lots of memory and 3 harddrives becuz the files will be so huge, but the possibilites are endless! But this will be more for studio recording where you have the computer and camera connected.

2. Ultraman38
I tested and hooked up the cam with cradle to LCD thru HDMI and the camera outputs to LCD while connected to HDMI in record mode! I even was able to zoom in and walk around a lil bit, but Im limited as the HDMI is connected. If you wanna see how awesome the potential for capturing live uncompressed HD is, do a google search for Black Magic Intensity Pro Capture, you will come across sites that state how wonderful it is to be able to capture raw, uncompressed HD.

3. Me
Hi Ultraman38, very interesting. What exactly is the setup to view on external LCD while recording? Normally once recording starts, the output to HDMI is cut off and only the camcorder LCD shows the recording.

4. Ultraman38
well, yes, it doesnt record when you press record but that dont matter your not recording the video with the video camera(that would be compressed HD and defeats the purpose), your capturing it with the BM capture card, just make the settings the highest setting- 1080p and then the footage will be captured by the card. The video will go out from the cradle HDMI and directly into the capture card. I will update you on this as Im awaiting the card. I also understand the BM card works will w/ Adobe Pro CS4. keep in mind all this uncompressed video is more suitable for studio shoots and indoors where the camera will be connected to your computer while capturing.

5. Khalis
Hi, Ultraman38! I'm also trying HD2000+BM Intensity Pro -- not working, the card can't see camera. I'm in Win 7, all the drivers are new. If you get luck please share =)

Funny, right after I wrote here I get first pictures.. If anybody interested: in the camera tv out mode is auto, hdmi-cec is on (but maybe it doesn't make difference), in Media Express v 2.0.1 (program frome the Black Magic site) input mode either 1080i 59-something or 1080i 60, unfortunatelly Intensity doesn't support 1080ps.By the way camera in this mode doesn't show anything on it's LCD, and ON LED is orange when connected.

6. Ultraman38
yeah, I had the same problem, called tech support and told me to make sure the cam is outputting 1080i NOT 1080p. I changed the output in the cam and finally got a picture to capture. To give you an idea how much space uncompressed HD holds, Adobe Premiere gave me an estimate of 1 hour video/ 500GB space! Now Im having problem with getting sound and also not getting the BM card to record my PS3 thru compenent video. I may return this card and get another it may be defect, called tech support countless number of times and not resolved it.


So dear Ultraman38 and Khalis (and other interested readers), this post is all yours and you can add your comments to yours hearts' content. Enjoy the testing and the discussion!

Ronald Kwok

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Playing video files on Media Player

Stand alone media players are now becoming very popular and recently I had the opportunity to test run some HD2000 videos on two media players, one the Western Digital WDTV and the other, the Sony PS3. OK, the PS3 is not exactly a media player but many people use it as such in addition as a game machine. Below are the results and since I do not know which version of firmware both units have, this may not be the latest but just a guide. Both were connected to a HDTV with HDMI cable.

For both players, I used a test video each shot with the HD2000 in the following resolutions.

1. Full HR, 1920x1080, 60p
2. Full HD, 1920x1080, 60i and
3. Full SHQ, 1920x1080, 30p

First the PS3. Both the 30p and 60i video played without problem. When it came to the 60p, the video played smoothly but at a lower speed; roughly it was at one and a half times meaning a 2 minute clip played for 3 minutes and thus the video played as slow-motion. The audio played correctly at the normal speed and so the audio finished ahead of the video and is out of sync. The last third of the video played in silence.

What about the WDTV? As in the case of the PS3, both the 30p and 60i videos played correctly. There was also problem playing the 60p video. In this case the video played correctly most of the time but at certain intervals, the picture breaks while the audio started playing OK but soon became jerky and finally became dead.

Thus the 60p videos cannot be handled correctly by both the WDTV and the PS3 and I wonder if there are any media players out there that can play these videos properly. Any users with such a player should leave your comments here for all to share.

So if you intend to make use of the WDTV or PS3 to view your HD2000 videos, shoot at the lower resolution of 60i or 30p. For normal video for casual viewing, there is not much noticeable difference from the 60p. You will also save some file space and will have less headache using external editing software. After all, other consumer camcorders only offer 60i or 30p as their highest resolution.

Ronald Kwok