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Get a DVD camcorder for $170 shipped

If you want the convenience of set-top video viewing and don't plan to edit your home movies, this dirt-cheap Panasonic model could be just the ticket.

DVD camcorders used to cost a small fortune; this one's $170.

I'm not wild about DVD camcorders (for reasons I'll explain shortly), but there's something to be said for the convenience of capturing video on a disc you can pop into any set-top DVD player. If that sounds appealing, Circuit City has the Panasonic VDR-D210 mini-DVD camcorder on sale for $169.96 with free shipping (plus sales tax in most states).

Though an entry-level camcorder, the VDR-D210 offers some nice features, including a 32X optical zoom, optical image stabilization, a 2.7-inch wide LCD, and a reasonably compact design.

Not bad, right? Right--but be sure to read CNET's review of the VDR-D210 before you pull the trigger. As with all mini-DVD camcorders, you get limited recording time per disc, and there's no easy way to import your video to your PC for editing. But if you want to watch little Johnny's soccer game on the big screen the minute you get home, this is a fine solution. I can remember when DVD camcorders started at around $600, so $170 is a pretty smokin' deal.