INTERVIEW-Nokia sees HD video on cellphones in a few years

AMSTERDAM, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Video recording on cellphones is set to reach high definition (HD) quality in a few years' time, an executive at the world's top cellphone maker Nokia NOK1V.HE said on Wednesday.

“It’s coming. Technically, we are a couple of years away,” Nokia’s Chief Technology Officer Tero Ojanpera told Reuters in an interview. “It’s still a few years away.”

Cellphones have had cameras, and the ability to use them as camcorders, for more than five years, but only this year did Nokia start to sell a model, the N95, which records television quality video.

Better quality could boost sales of pricey multimedia phones and also hit camcorder makers such as Panasonic 6752.T, Samsung 005930.KS and JVC 6792.T just as the success of cameraphones from Nokia and Sony Ericsson 6758.TERICb.ST has hurt the still camera industry.

Nokia alone will sell around 200 million cameraphones this year and aims to sell more than 250 million in 2008.

Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, said phone vendors have several technical challenges ahead of them -- video weighs on the battery life of power-hungry phones and increasing video quality affects the quality of the still camera.

“Video technology is there, but it has not reached huge momentum,” said Wood.

Analyst Alan Brown of research firm Gartner said he estimated 8-10 percent of cellphones might have HD video capability by 2010 or 2011. “I can’t see it getting much bigger by then,” he said.

U.S. chip maker Broadcom BRCM.O said on Tuesday it had started limited shipments of its new single chip decoder which enables HD quality video also on cellphones, and Texas Instruments TXN.N also has a prototype.

(Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan in Frankfurt)

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