Hello mark....the fact that this is a new problem makes me think it could be a bad batch of tapes. That said, this is a common complaint with the sony handycam...
Read on for more -
Standard definition camcorders like yours have a couple of issues that you need to learn to work around.
1) It is a hard disc camcorder - like it or not, even in high quality mode
, the compression of the MPEG2 files is very high. The compression all by itself will cause issues. You need to use a video editor
that can deal with the compression better than whatever you are using. Decompressing with a decent codec will make huge files on your computer. After you are done editing, you will compress - especially for uploading to video sharing sites. Vimeo.com has good suggestions.
2) These sorts of cameras interlace the video signal lines. This is from the TV video days... at 480i alternating lines of the video are produced on the screen. When you are exporting the finished video, your video editor should have the ability to export de-interlaced video. Use that option.
3) Don't capture video with the camcorder hand-held. Humans were not built to be steady. Use some sort of steadying device. Tripod, chair, shoulder mount system, ground, anything - but not handheld... or practice not moving. At all. And practice a lot. Also, if the image stabilization
selection in the camcorder's menu is off, turn it on - though it is probably on. There is no camcorder's image stabilizing that can correct lots of movement/vibration. Capturing anything with any action (whether you are moving accidentally or on purpose or the subject is moving and the camcorder is tracking it) is going to give you challenges - especially with a hard disc drive based camcorder (flash memory
4) The software that comes in the box wih any consumer camcorder is useless and unnecessary. In your case, go ahead and dump it from your computer. You will need some sort of conversion software utility to convert the video you capture so your video files cant be edited... I like StreamCliphttp://www.squared5.com/
Windows based video editors
like WMV files. After editing, exporting as an AVI or MP4 will help.