By James Wells

SYDNEY: The JVC GZ-MC500 Everio hard disc camcorder took out the award for the Product of the Year at the inaugural Electrical Retailing Awards (ERAs) in Sydney last Thursday.

Judged by over 60 retailers from around Australia from the major electrical buying groups – Narta, Retravision, Betta Electrical, Harvey Norman, Domayne and Chandlers, the innovative camcorder beat four other products in a closely contested award.

The JVC GZ-MC500, which is best known for being the first ‘tapeless’ camcorder on the Australian market, can capture 60 minutes of DVD quality video and jpeg stills as high as five megapixels on its 4GB MicroDrive.

The other finalists for the award were the Panasonic TH-50PV500 Viera 50-inch high definition widescreen plasma television and matching stand, the Sony KLVV40A10 Bravia 40-inch high definition LCD television, the LG Electronics PX4DV 42-inch plasma television with built-in high definition tuner and Dyson ‘The Ball’ DC15 upright bagless vacuum cleaner with patented ball wheel.

“In an open category with so many electrical products and innovations, we are extremely proud that Everio has been awarded Best Product of the Year – not just because hard disk technology has helped invigorate the camcorder market, but also because Everio was voted as the winner by retailers whose continual support has been invaluable,” said JVC Consumer Products general manager – marketing, Jim Parissis.

“In a market where blank media is disappearing from personal devices, it has been exciting and refreshing to be able to offer retailers and consumers real innovation in video technology. The natural progression from tape and disc has been hard disk – as evident in the personal audio market with the recent rise in popularity of hard disk products like iPod. Mirroring this trend, the camcorder market will naturally move to hard disk as it shifts away from tape. We would like to thank all who voted for Everio – which we hope continues to inspire and create value in the video market," Parissis said.

According to Ernst & Young, the auditors of the ERAs, just a few votes separated a clear winner of this category from the other products including the three flat screen television finalists.

The retailers judging this award commented on the innovative design of this product, its ability to provide “a real shake-up in its category”, and said “its approach to this category has been completely different to its competitors” and “features real innovation”.

Other comments included “totally different”, “one of the best marketing campaigns”, “large customer demand” and “pioneering a new market segment”.