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Sony Tops J.D. Power Camcorder Study

Westlake Village, Calif. — Sony earned high marks from a recent J.D. Power and Associates survey of standard-definition camcorder owners.

J.D. Power studied camcorders above and below the $399 price point. In the sub-$399 category, Sony DCR-DVD and DCR-HC (miniDV) placed first and second in customer satisfaction, respectively, followed by Canon’s Elura and ZR series of miniDV models. In the premium category of standard definition camcorders above $399, Sony’s DCR-SR hard-disk-drive models ranked first, followed by Sony’s DVD Handycams, Panasonic’s PV-GS Series and JVC’s GZ-MG models.

The research firm polled 2,565 camcorder owners during August and September of this year to gauge usage patterns. They found that 80 percent of respondents reported editing video on a home computer. Among those, 57 percent burned video to DVD, 28 percent sent video in an email, 13 percent posted to a personal Web site such as MySpace and 7 percent broadcast them to the world on sites such as YouTube.

Camcorder owners reported owning multiple products from a single brand, with 50 percent owning a TV from the same manufacturer as their camcorder, 45 owning a digital camera from the same brand and 32 percent owning another piece of A/V equipment from the same brand.

Thirty-three percent of those surveyed reported using their camcorder on a weekly basis while 38 percent claimed to use one monthly. Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they used their camcorder only on special occasions.

Consumers buy on price (21 percent), brand reputation (16 percent) and features (10 percent) and do much of their research online, the firm reported.

Asked what they would like in their next model, survey respondents said facial detection, HD recording/output capability and a long zoom lens.