NEW YORK -- Eastman Kodak Co. Wednesday entered the home video war with the unveiling of a new one-piece 8-millimeter color video recorder system and a host of video cassettes and tapes for the home and professional markets.
Both General Electric Co. and RCA have announced entries into the home video market with both 8mm and inch systems.
The Kodavision 2000 video system will be manufactured in Japan by Matsushita for distribution through Kodak dealers. More than 50 configurations of inch and 8 mm cassettes and tapes will be manufactured under the Eastman and Kodak name by TDK Electronics.
It was the first time Kodak had entered into business deals with Matsushita and TDK.
John R. Robertson, vice-president and assistant general manager for Kodak's U.S. marketing division, said Kodak's delayed its entry into the home and professional video field because it was felt consumers would more readily accept the smaller and more convenient 8 mm cassettes and a system that did not require a separate power pack and an 'umbilical' cord.
The 8 mm cassettes are just slightly larger than a standard audio cassette tape.
The new lineup, to go on sale by April, will consist of three distinct products. The Kodak camcorder is a 8mm color camera with a monitor that combines image-taking and video tape recorder into one five-pound device. Two Kodavision camcorders are available, the model 2200 and the 2400. The 2400 offers automatic focus and fade control. The 2200 is the manual focus version.
The 2400 will retail for $1,899 and the 2200 for $1,599.
Wilbur J. Prezzano, group vice president and general manager of worldwide marketing for Kodak, said the Kodavision series will provide 'easy-to-use, point-and-shoot conveniegnce.'
The company's new Kodavision series system will be a key stage in the development of video technology, Prezzano said, adding, 'the television set no longer is a merely for viewing entertainment programming. Consumers are linking it with an array of other components for a variety of uses.'
The camcorder can be used with the Series 2000 Cradle, a new device that through a single hookup to the camera can display images on a connected television for playback.
The cradle can also be connected to a half-inch video cassette recorder for transfer to the larger film, or vica versa.
The cradle also includes an optional tuner and timer to permit up to 90 minutes of on-the-air program recording. The cradle will retail for $199 and the tuner-timer option will cost $300, the company said.
The camcorder's nine-volt battery is recharged while the camera is in the cradle. The cradle also recharges a separate battery to extend the camcorder's usable time. Charging takes about an hour.
Dealers will view the new product line Jan. 6 in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show. The cassette line centers around two new tapes. The MP (metal particle tape or a higher grade ME (metal evaporated) tape can record up to 90 minutes in length. The ME offers slightly higher clarity and a better signal noise ratio, the company said.
Tape prices were not announced, but Robertson estimated that they would be around $7.
A complete line of audio cassette tapes in both -inch and 8 mm as well as VHS and Beta formats will be marketed under the Kodak name in both home and professional grades.