Friday, May 8, 2009

Sony – Second Place Wins the Race

In the Spring of 1995, JVC launched the first digital camcorder to enter the market.  This sent tremors through Sony who had been in a neck-and-neck race with JVC to be first to market.  In despair, desperate meetings were held, looking for a way to recover from the market disadvantage of being “second to market”.  

As ideas where being vetted, nothing was generating much excitement. Only one solution had some merit.  The JVC camcorder recorded in digital format but it only had analog output.  There was no way to get the digital video off the camcorder in digital format.  Sony had been working with the 1394 Trade Association to standardize 1394 for use in camcorders.  It was decided that a digital interface would be added to the first Sony digital camcorder to see if that would turn the tide.  1394 was added to the high-end camcorder, the DCR-VX100  but not to the less expensive VX700. 

As it turned out, adding 1394 was a brilliant decision.  The demand for the digital interface was so intense that Sony offered a buy back program of VX700 camcorders and replaced them with models which included 1394.  The whole digital camcorder industry was taken over by Sony and soon all digital camcorders  included the 1394 interface.

This was the first product to include 1394/FireWire and one of Sony’s greatest success stories.

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