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JVC aims hard drive video cameras at U.S.

Forget tape. Video cameras of the future will store footage on hard drives or in flash memory.

Japanese electronics giant JVC will release a family of video cameras with built-in hard drives to the U.S. in August, a move that will help usher in the tapeless future for such devices.

The Everio G cameras will come with a built-in 20GB or 30GB hard drive and will range in price from $800 to $1,000. Depending on the camera and the shooting mode, the drives can hold from 4.5 to 37 hours of footage. By storing video footage on a hard drive, consumers can fairly directly burn their movies onto DVD disks or swap them around home networks. There will be four models in all at launch, and two will take 1.33-megapixel still images.

Small and mini-hard drives that measure 1.8 inches or less in diameter were a component novelty a few years ago, but they now are spreading into a wide variety of consumer electronics. Small drives first started to appear in music players and have since migrated to cell phones.

JVC came out with an Everio series of cameras last year that feature a removable 1-inch 4GB drive. The Everio G cameras announced this week will come with 1.8-inch drives.

The camera is powered by the Megabrid imaging chip, which comes from NuCore. Increasingly, companies are adopting chips from third-party manufacturers rather than developing their own.

In a similar vein, some Japanese manufacturers have been selling video cameras with flash memory. These flash-based cameras hold less footage, but they are far smaller and can fit in a person's palm. JVC's hard-drive-based cameras are about the same size as the MiniDV cameras on the market today.