By Sarah Falson

SYDNEY: Last night Hitachi launched the world’s first range of Hybrid DVD/HDD camcorders with dual hard drive and DVD drive units within the one chassis. 

According to Geoff Hannaford, general manager – marketing & sales, the ‘hybrid’ is currently the number one camcorder in Japan with over 12.2 per cent of the market share for camcorder models. He hopes the world-first unit will experience the same reception on the Australian market.

“The hybrids bring together the best of both worlds. Hitachi has 42 per cent of the DVD camcorder market in Japan [the closest competitor is Sony with 32 per cent], and 20 per cent of the total camcorder market,” he said.

The DZ-HS301E has been in Japanese retailers for 13 weeks now, but Evan Manolis, Hitachi product specialist – DVD products, told “This is definitely a big win, especially when you consider the other players on the market like Sony and JVC, with their high definition camcorders.”

Two models will be available in Australia on 1st December – the DZ-HS310E will retail for $1,449 and weighs 435g (sans the battery), and the DZ-HS303E will cost $1,649 and weigh 485g.

Both models include six hours maximum record time in standard definition, 2.7-inch screens and 16:9 aspect ratios. The HS303E takes 3.3 megapixel images and boasts a 10x optical and 500x digital zoom, while the HS301E has a 1.3 megapixel lens as well as a 15x optical and 800x digital zoom.

Movies can be burned to DVD without the need for a PC connection or additional hardware, and users can choose to either burn the entire contents of  the HDD onto a DVD, or select and edit pieces to suit their needs.

Manolis says the late-November launch date was important for subsequent sales.

“We definitely want to get our product out there in that first week of December. I think people were waiting for the Hitachi to launch.

“In collaboration with our retailers, we asked them when the best time to come out would be. Harvey Norman and Narta said that the current time would be best because they wanted a ‘spike’ in their stores in December.

“JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Bing Lee have their catalogues coming out early December. We would have missed the Christmas catalogues if we had launched too early. We would have missed a lot of opportunities,” Manolis told today.

As for point-of-sale marketing, Hitachi will place cards, specification fliers, brochures and pull-up banners in all retail stores stocking the Hitachi hybrid camcorders. In addition, print ads will be placed in Quantas magazine and The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend, plus trade publications and online with Google.