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What is an HDD Camcorder?

Veronica Pamoukaghlián
Veronica Pamoukaghlián

An HDD camcorder is a video camera that uses an internal hard drive instead of a tape. It is the successor of the miniDV camera, which uses tape but already records in digital format. The advantage of the HDD camcorder is that users no longer need to upload their tapes into their computers to convert the tape into a digital file. The HDD camcorder enables users to simply copy a file from one hard drive to the other, the same way files can be copied from one to another hard drive directory.

HDD camcorders do not only save time and effort; the useful life of a tape is shorter than that of the data recorded in a hard drive. Moreover, tapes require certain storage conditions that are unnecessary for hard drives.

HDD camcorders use a hard drive rather than magnetic tape to record information.
HDD camcorders use a hard drive rather than magnetic tape to record information.

The first HDD camcorder was marketed by Samsung electronics. When it was presented at a trade fair in 2003, the developers of the ITCAM-7 claimed that it could record up to an hour of footage, which would take only 5 minutes to be copied into a computer, as opposed to the full hour it would have taken with a regular digital video camera.

The key to the new technology was compression. The new cameras were able to compress the information from thousands of pixels in every single frame into light digital formats such as MPEG-4. With less physical space being required for storing data, today´s HDD camcorder can record hours and hours of video in a number of different formats, depending on the consumer´s needs and operating system.

The HDD camcorder is not to be confused with the High Definition camera, commonly referred to as HD. A professional format once hailed as the technology that would render 35 mm film obsolete, HD provides the highest quality of video image recording today.

Another popular new type of video camera is the DVD camcorder, which records directly on DVD disks. Hitachi has also introduced a hybrid camera, which can use either DVDs or its own hard drive to store recorded video. Another interesting development is Sony´s Blue ray; a rewritable 23 Gb disk, which can reportedly be reused one million times. Panasonic has also developed a similar technology.

Today's consumer already understand the added value of having video recording tools that create digital files. These digital files are easy to create, move, and edit, which is why HDD camcorders seem to have a better chance of survival as more advances in digital video technology are developed.

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Discussion Comments


Has anyone used both the HDD camcorder and the new hybrid cameras? Did you find they had similar quality of video and file length or did one of the two stand out?

I am considering buying a camcorder and while I like the flexibility of the hybrids the HDD camcorder holds a lot of appeal because of its use of a hard drive that makes it quick and easy to transfer files.

I would mostly like to film sporting events and concerts that I attend, so a camcorder that can last at least for 2 hours of filming or more is very important.


Purchasing a HDD camcorder is a great idea if you need something that is easy to use and you don't want to spend a lot of time fighting with different file types.

My family and I looked at a lot of different camcorders but decided that the ease of use offered by the HDD camcorder was a good bet. You can record for hours on end and most camcorders offer some on screen editing software. They even let you choose the file size you need so that you can film for straight web use, or make a file that would be good for burning to a DVD.

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    • HDD camcorders use a hard drive rather than magnetic tape to record information.
      By: nikkytok
      HDD camcorders use a hard drive rather than magnetic tape to record information.