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HDD camcorders: More storage equals more opportunity to lose precious memories

What's it going to take to get consumers to sideload video off their HDD-based camcorders?

Earlier in the week we posted a review of the JVC Everio GZ-MG330, a good, basic compact camcorder with a 30GB hard disk drive (HDD) for recording anywhere from around 7 hours to nearly 40 hours of digital video, depending on quality mode. We're also currently testing the Sony Handycam DCR-SR45 that similarly offers copious recording times on a 30GB hard drive (check Crave on Monday for a testing update). Both models also come in step-up versions with 60GB capacities. More storage space, especially in the case of fixed-media camcorders, is great since it means longer recording times.

However, all this extra room means less reason for you to offload your footage--or in this case byte-age--between shooting sessions.This got us thinking: should manufacturers of HDD camcorders (or flash-based ones, too, for that matter) build in a warning to users about the growing amount of video stored on their camcorders?

Mobile devices, by nature, are easy to walk off with and are subject to all manner of abuse, which translates into a greater risk of losing any recordings that remain on the camcorder. With larger and larger drives being used, it's easy to see an average consumer not stopping to connect to a computer until they absolutely have to. What if makers put a simple warning after every 5GB of space used just to say, "Hey, you may want to transfer your video to your PC soon?" Or do it after a month of activity or inactivity with a Clippy-esque, "I've noticed you have a lot of video stored on the hard drive. What would you like to do with it?" It's a simple fix that could prevent a lot of heartache. Then again, it'll probably just get ignored like countless other pop-up warnings.