Arguing that consumers have been conditioned by the success of the iPod and other hard-disk-drive-based music players to accept the use of hard disk drives in video, JVC introduced the first camcorders to integrate a 1.8-inch hard disk drive as the storage medium.
The new G-series of Everio camcorders will feature 20GB and 30GB built-in Hitachi 1.8-inch hard drives and will initially include four models shipping in August. All record MPEG-2 format video to built-in drives and include an SD card slot for saving stills or video.
The camcorders also feature a shock-absorption system to reduce vibrations from disrupting the drive and a "gravity-like force sensor system" that can automatically detect a quick acceleration and power off the device, removing the bezel from the hard disk to protect it from damage.
The models are compact and weigh less than 14 ounces with the battery attached. JVC will bundle an info-lithium battery good for one hour of recording time with the new models.
They also feature a 2.5-inch flip-out LCD screen, PictBridge compatibility, USB 2.0 connectivity and utilize JVC's 3D noise reduction technology. They will be bundled with Pixela Capty MPEG Edit EX for Mac users and a CyberLink DVD suite for PC users.
The GZ-MG20, for an estimated $800, will offer 20GB of storage capable of recording four and a half hours at the highest quality setting of 9MBps or seven hours at 6MBps. It can also record VGA quality still photos.
A step-up 20GB model, the MG40 ($900) offers a 1.33 megapixel CCD for capturing megapixel still images. It also employs JVC's Megabrid engine for separately processing digital video and still image data.
The 30GB models include the GZ-MG30 for $900 and the 1.33-megapixel step-up MG50 for $1,000. Both can store seven hours of 9MBps video and 10.5 hours of 6MBps video.
To help consumers offload the video, JVC will offer an accessory stand-alone multi-format DVD burner, initially with Apacer Technology, allowing Everio G users to directly burn DVDs from their camcorders. The burner will be sold under Apacer's brand. According to Allan Holland, product manager, JVC, the company expects to partner with other manufacturers for additional DVD burners in the future.
The key theme surrounding the new models will be capacity, said Dave Owen, consumer video division general manager, JVC. To achieve seven hours of recording time using a DVD camcorder, a consumer would need 22 DVD disks, Owen added.
He also cited the benefits of random access for finding and deleting select scenes or altering the playback sequence — all impossible with tape-based models.
"You also won't pick up the camcorder and accidentally record over something you've previously recorded," Owen said.
The G-series models will join the existing C-series of Everio camcorders, which use the Microdrive removable hard-disk format for storage. The company will cultivate the C-series for PC- and tech-savvy enthusiasts while it will gear the G-series for the "mainstream consumer," Owen said.
"Hard disks are the direction of the company," Owen said.