Video analyst John Ferrick of DVdoctor Inc wonders what on earth is going on at the consumer end of the high-definition camcorder market?

DV Doctor by Bob Crabtree dv doctorJuly saw a flurry of product announcements about consumer high-definition camcorders. But why is there all this concentrated activity and what's it all leading to? At the outset, it needs to be understood that high-definition TV is taking off in a big way, and for main two reasons. First, people are seeing large home displays as being trendy and, since most are hung on the wall, they don’t cause major interior-designer hysterics. Second, as people are deciding to upgrade by replacing their home TV sets, they are also aware of the apparent availability of HD content covering sports and movies. But many purchasers don't understand all the finer points of HD. Most sets on sale don't natively display the highest possible quality - 1920 x1080 progressive (1080p) - and the same is true even for 1080 interlaced (1080i). Yet sets that can't natively show either of these higher resolutions are not only being offered for sale but being bought in large numbers. Okay, just about all sets do have built in scalers to convert various input resolutions to display resolutions – either upscaling or down - but that's somewhat beside the point. Purchasers don't fully appreciate the options or realise what they're passing up. They tend to concentrate on the size of the display and its having some sort of HD ability but don't understand exactly what flavour of HD they are purchasing or could have purchased. In the USA, from a broadcast point of view, there are two main flavours, one is 1080i the other is 720p - with ESPN on the sports side being the major 720p player as far as content goes. read more...

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