AVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition) is a file-based format for the digital recording and playback of high-definition video. Developed jointly by Sony and Panasonic, the format was introduced in 2006 primarily for use in high definition consumer camcorders.

Favorable comparisons of AVCHD against HDV and XDCAM EX solidified perception of AVCHD as a format acceptable for professional use. Both Panasonic and Sony released the first consumer AVCHD camcorders in spring of 2007. Panasonic released the first AVCHD camcorder aimed at the professional market in 2008, though it was nothing more than the (by then discontinued) FLASH card consumer model rebadged with a different model number.

In 2011 the AVCHD specification was amended to include 1080-line 50-frame/s and 60-frame/s modes (AVCHD Progressive) and stereoscopic video (AVCHD 3D). The new modes require double the video data rate than previous modes. AVCHD and its logo are trademarks of Sony and Panasonic.

For video compression, AVCHD uses the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 standard, supporting a variety of standard, high definition, and stereoscopic (3D) video resolutions. For audio compression, it supports both Dolby AC-3 (Dolby Digital) and uncompressed linear PCM audio. Stereo and multichannel surround (5.1) are both supported.

The BDAV container with filename extension .MTS or .m2ts is  used in AVCHD format, which is a high definition digital video camera recorder format. AVCHD is a simpler form of the Blu-ray Disc standard with just one video encoding algorithm and two audio encodings. Compared to Blu-ray Disc format, AVCHD can use various storage media, such as DVD media, memory cards or hard disk drives. The BDAV container contains videos recorded using AVCHD camcorders, such as Sony’s HDR-SR(xx)series models. Panasonic, Canon and other brands of AVCHD camcorders also store recorded video in BDAV container format. There are some problems with AVCHD compatibility between brands.

Panasonic and Sony developed several brand names for their professional as well as simplified versions of AVCHD.

AVCHD Lite is a subset of AVCHD format announced in January 2009,  which is limited to 720p60, 720p50 and 720p24 and does not employ Multiview Video Coding. AVCHD Lite cameras duplicate each frame of 25fps/30fps video acquired by camera sensor, producing 720p50/720p60 bitstream compliant with AVCHD and Blu-ray Disc specifications. As of 2013, AVCHD Lite seems to have been all but replaced with other formats. For example, the Panasonic DMC FZ-200 offers AVCHD Progressive recording mode (50fps/60fps acquisition and stream rate) as well as MP4 mode (25fps/30fps acquisition and stream rate).

Formerly known as “AVCHD with professional features,”  AVCCAM is the name of professional AVCHD camcorders from Panasonic’s Broadcast division. Some of these professional features listed in early Panasonic advertising materials included 1/3-inch progressive 3CCD sensor, XLR microphone input, solid-state media and capability of recording at the maximum AVCHD bitrate – 24 Mbit/s. The aforementioned features are not exclusive to AVCCAM. Moreover, some of these features like CCD sensor technology have been dropped by Panasonic, while 24 Mbit/s recording rate is widely available from rival manufacturers even on consumer models.

Panasonic uses “AVCHD Pro” moniker to describe camcorders like the HDC-MDH1, which combines consumer internal parts and controls with shoulder-mount type body. Panasonic touts that the camcorder is “shaped for Pro-Style shooting in Full-HD” with shoulder-mount type body being “preferred by professionals”.

NXCAM is the name of Sony’s professional video lineup employing the AVCHD format. NXCAM camcorders offers 1080i, 1080p and 720p recording modes. Unlike AVCCAM, NXCAM camcorders do not offer film-like frame rates — 24p, 25p, 30p — in 720p mode.

Software for Converting AVCHD MTS/M2TS Files

For Windows Users: UFUSoft AVCHD Converter

For Mac Users: UFUSoft AVCHD Converter for Mac