High Definition camcorders on the rise

In the wider context, access to an HD display is an important factor that will help to grow future demand for HD camcorders. ‘HD Ready’ displays are expected to be installed in 20% of Western European homes by the end of 2007 (27% in the UK), with this increasing to over 65% by 2011 (76% in the UK) according to Understanding & Solutions analysis. 


The average retail price for an HD camcorder is still high when compared to Standard Definition (SD) models, with prices averaging more than £800 in the UK last year. Going forward, increased competition and growing volumes will see this more than halve by 2011, making the step up to HD increasingly attractive to consumers.


Such high initial price points have meant that high volume CE retailers in the UK have not focused much attention on the HD camcorder market to date. Most of the UK’s shipments continue to be sold via specialist independent retailers, although this will shift as price points fall and consumer interest grows. 


Tape (HDV) represents the bulk of HD demand to date: 80% across Western Europe in 2006, and still the dominant format in 2007. This has been fueled by a limited number of products launched on other formats, lower price points when compared to competing HD formats (such as Hard Disk Drive (HDD), Solid State (SS) and DVD), cheap and easily obtainable media, and a general perception that digital tape is best in terms of capture quality. However, moving forward, Understanding & Solutions expects these other formats to increasingly drive demand.


New generation optical disc formats (i.e. AVCHD DVD and Blu-ray) are not expected to penetrate the high definition camcorder market to the same degree as DVD has in standard definition, as other formats are rapidly gaining acceptance by mass market consumers. Over the past 12 months, combined shipments of HDD and SS devices have grown by 93% in volume terms compared to an overall camcorder market decline of 1%.


Moving forward, there is clearly an opportunity for the industry to revitalise consumer interest in the camcorder segment, and Understanding & Solutions will continue to closely monitor developments in this market. The market research company will conduct a conference exploring High Definition and its role within broadcast, programming, equipment and disc media sectors in Barcelona, Spain, from November 12 to 13, 2007.

Details are available on www.uands.com/events/