Earlier this week, JVC introduced a new family of Everio camcorders in their "G Series." Well, that's interesting you might say, but what does that have to with Digital TV. A lot in fact because what makes the camcorders unique is the fact that they include diminutive hard-disc drives from Toshiba (1.8-in. hard-drives). These are the same drives that Toshiba is using in their new Gigabeat mobile music players. Hard-disc recording capability is cutting across all lines of consumer electronics products these days, and is being offered in smaller and smaller sizes with larger capacities.
JVC's initial Everio G offering consists of four models. The first two models will include digital camera image quality of 640x480 in model GZ-MG20 with a 20GB hard disk, and the model GZ.MG30 with 30GB hard drive that will provide seven and 10.5 hours respectively of DVD camcorder-quality (30-minute mode) video. Step-up versions with a 1.33 Megapixel CCD are the seven-hour 20GB hard disk GZ-MG40, and the 10.5-hour 30GB hard-disk GZ-MG50. According to JVC, to put the storage capacity of these camcorders in context, it would take 22 DVD camcorder discs (8cm/1.4GB discs) to hold just seven hours of video. Aren't hard-disc drives a wonderful thing?
While current PVR/DVR products include larger-sized hard-drives with bigger capacities, one wonders how long it will take for Toshiba and other manufacturers to offer 1.8-in. hard-drives in HDTVs. Currently, a handful of manufacturers " RCA and Toshiba offer stand-alone 80GB hard-drives that are tethered to integrated HDTVs via IEEE1394.
Mitsubishi, however, has decided to integrate DVR capability within its integrated HDTVs, and currently offers two models with two more models coming in the Fall.
While current 1.8-in. products only hold 20GB or 30GB of standard definition DVD-quality video, one can only wonder how long it will be before these diminutive drives will be integrated into several televisions with greatly increased capacity. While 2005 only sees hard-disc drive sizes up to 30GB in 1.8-in. size, will 2006 see capacity increased to 80GB or more?
We already have both satellite companies " DirecTV and EchoStar offering component-size DVRs with 250GB hard-drives to record high-definition signals. With the intervention of these smaller drives at reduced prices, it can only make designers and engineers think of creative ways to create innovative HDTV-type products.