A Flash-Happy CES
Panasonic’s camcorder announcements reflect a flash-happy philosophy as well. Many of its new models, some of which have lavish 42x and 50x optical zooms along with Optical Image Stabilization, record to SDHC memory cards. The DSR-SW20, a $399 ultra-portable camcorder due out in February, is shock-proof and even submergible...all because recording to flash memory means a camcorder needs far fewer mechanical (a.k.a. breakable) parts. With a 16 gig SDHC card, the DSR-SW20 will let someone shoot for 13 hours without having to change a tape or lug extra batteries.
Panasonic also announced that some of its HD TV’s will arrive to market with SDHC readers built-in, allowing consumers to pop out the memory card from the camcorder and watch the video on the big screen immediately, skipping the transfer-to-computer step altogether...just another killer-app resulting from advances in the same technology (those miniaturized flash-memory chips) that have given us digicams, removable memory for cell phones, and, of course, iPods.