RCA Ships Cheap Camcorder Alternative

May 08, 2007

RCA on Monday said it had begun shipping a pint-sized camcorder with a built-in memory card that holds up to 60 minutes of video footage out of the box.

RCA is pushing the EZ201 "Small Wonder" device as a less cumbersome alternative to the traditional camcorder. It operates on two AA batteries and is about the size of a deck of cards. Users do not have to insert tapes to record footage, though memory cards can be added to extend recording time up to five hours.

The device was announced at the Consumer Electronics show this past January, where Thomson, which owns the RCA brand name, said it was seeking a suitor for its A/V products. At the show, the company announced three MP3 players, for which RCA has released pricing: the $75 Opal, the $49 Pearl, and the $69 Jet.

The display panel also rotates 180 degrees so wannabe film directors and YouTube stars can videotape themselves.

RCA is teaming up with file-sharing site Box.net to push the release of the product, though the camcorder is also compatible with video sites like YouTube and MySpace, according to an RCA spokeswoman.

The camera's Memory Manager software allows users to manipulate content so separate videos can be linked to one another, content can be compressed for e-mailing or uploaded to Box.net. The site allows those who wish to avoid e-mailing bulk files to upload footage to the site for viewing and sharing.

The "Small Wonder" also features a grab function that allows users to capture and print still photos from video footage, RCA said.

RCA said that 1GB of storage -- or seven hours of recording time -- will be offered on Box.net free to those who purchase the new camcorder. The promotion is strictly branding, however; all Box.net users who sign up on the company's Web site can secure 1GB of free storage without the camera. For $7.95 a month or $79.95 a year, subscribers can upgrade to 5GB of storage, while $19.95 a month or $199.95 a year gets you 15 GB of storage and 20 sub-accounts, according to Box.net.

The camcorder retails for $129 and is available at Circuit City stores.

The EZ201 is "the next evolution in simplifying video recording, editing, archiving and sharing," Dan Collishaw, chief operating officer of RCA Audio/Video, said in a statement.

Copyright 2007 by Ziff Davis Media, Distributed by United Press International

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