The Coming Camcorder Conundrum

Is the traditional camcorder going the way of the VCR.  Recent trends indicate that the answer is “yes” and its a big problem for camcorder makers and CE retailers. 

Sales of camcorders have fallen 6.7% to $785 million so far this year, according to researcher NPD.  In a recent article entitled The Coming Camcorder Conundrum, BusinessWeek points out that the traditional camcorder is being replaced by……. wait for it……. the Cellphone.  Consumers are also opting for low-cost, flash-based, disposable recorders.

“Many consumers are looking for less expensive, less complicated machines, and in growing numbers they’re adopting devices on the low end. Pure Digital Technologies specializes in disposable, point-and-shoot, flash-memory-based camcorders. Its latest point-and-shoot model, released in October, holds up to 60 minutes of video and sells for about $129.”

Pure Digital understands what most people are doing with video these days.  They are creating content for distribution on the web and Pure Digital is building disposable camcorders that interface to Google Video and Sony’s Grouper.  A YouTube interface is in the works.  Pure Digital believes that the traditional camcorder market, reaching fewer than 3 million units a year, will expand to more than 20 million devices sold as disposable and point-and-shoot camcorders proliferate.

The phone manufacturers are on the same track.  The quality available on phones and other low cost devices doesn’t compare to today’s high-end camcorders, but they make up for it in ease of use and price, and over time, the quality will get better.

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