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Nuggets: World's first MPEG 4 InternetCam from Sharp

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Written by Richard Barry, Contributor

Sharp's ViewCam breaks new ground, but will you buy it?

Back from Sharp's press briefing and feeling a tad confused. There's no question that the VN-EZ1 Internet ViewCam represents a significant advance in digital movie technology, but as the company's spokesman said, "this is the first step down this path."

So what's the problem? Well, take a very small digital movie camera, rip out all its high-end stuff, and then replace the digital tape with a SmartMedia card. What you've got is a gadget costing just under £600 (price may fall before release in Summer) that can record a maximum of 1 hour's video in MPEG 4 format and provide instant movies that can be plugged straight into a PC. The beauty of recording in MP4 -- according to Sharp -- is the files are nearly a third smaller than equivalent MPEG 1 files, making Internet transfer much quicker.

The problem is, Sharp is aiming this quirky device at the consumer market, but for £600ish for one hour of video on a SmartMedia card that could cost more than £60, I simply cannot see it selling. Estate agents will buy it. Maybe a few of you guys will buy it. But the consumer market... Not.

Am I missing something here...? Mail me.

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