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A new market in video: digital camcorders are coming ashore.

NEW YORK - The digital camcorder business is heating up.

The first digital camcorders, from Panasonic and Sony, will be in U.S. stores this quarter. With more digital camcorders from other vendors turning up in Japan, it's inevitable that more models will soon find their way into the U.S. market.

JVC has a digital camcorder that will be available to Japanese consumers in December and a version of it is expected in the U.S. possibly as soon as next spring. Sharp also has an entry, to be available Dec. 1 in Japan, but the company says it isn't ready to talk about an introduction in NorthAmerica.

Panasonic has just put a U.S. price tag on its digital camcorder, originally shown here in August. It will be available next month for a maximum suggested retail price of $4,199.95 and a suggested minimum price of $3,999.95.

The price range is competitive with the higher of Sony's two digital camcorders, due is U.S. stores this month. Sony's Handycam digital camcorders, previewed last month, carry suggested retail prices of $4,199 and $2,999.

Electronics industry executives and analysts have said these first digital camcorders will sell to high-end consumers and videophiles. Once the prices drop, the mainstream consumer base will become more interested in the digital format.

Sharp's a new digital View-Cam that will be available in Japan Dec. 1 is priced at 350,000 yen, equivalent to $3,500. It features 224,640-pixel 5-inch monitor, a manual filming function that allows for adjustment of brightness and colors, and a system that allows the camcorder to be hooked up to personal computers, VCRs, and Sharp's personal digital assistant called Zaurus.

JVC's new digital camcorder has aluminum casing and weighs 1 pound. It's priced at 220,000 yen which translates into $2,180. At JVC Co. of America, William Sims, general manager of the consumer video division, said the camcorder has a smaller body than what's currently available in the U.S.

Sims said plans to market a digital JVC camcorder in the U.S. will be disclosed "within this calendar year." It's expected that the camcorder will be in American stores for spring selling.
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Author:Bloomfield, Judy
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Oct 23, 1995
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