* You are not charged for shipping on these items if they are ordered with a B/W or Color AquaCam unit.
* Important note about AquaCam's "Complete Kit" and "Time Delay Kit": as of 8/1/08
Although the heart of the AquaCam kits are the AquaCam video cameras themselves, it has been increasingly difficult for us to find and purchase the digital camcorders and time-delay DVR's that allow or accept an analog video input. For camcorders this is the same feature that allows you to record the output of a VCR or DVD onto the digital tape of the camcorder. For DVR's (Digital Video Recorders like TIVO) this is what allows you to record a video input signal without paying a monthly fee.
Background camcorder info: All major manufacturers have discontinued production of camcorders with analog video input and digital video "pass-through" features. These are the same features that are still in high demand for consumers that want to transfer their old VHS tapes onto new digital tapes .. or to transfer them from the VCR, through the camcorder's "pass-through" electronics, and onto a burnable DVD. The move to all digital formats (TV, DVD's, etc.) have made that feature less important to the average consumer BUT it is still wanted by a large and select group of customers, including us.
Background DVR info: Our time-delay system used commercially available DVR's (video-on-a-hard-drive) to obtain the "pause/delay" for quick swimmer feedback on the pool deck. But the RCA Sceniums and the Panasonic units (DMR-EH75V) we had been using were discontinued and used prices have skyrocketed.
Our research has led us to find that it is a combination of the following that is hurting the ability of AquaCam to purchase equipment for the complete kits.
- Less demand by the average consumer,
- Pressure from TIVO (through multiple lawsuits against any competing DVR.) Did you know they may sell their units at cost or less to discourage competition and because their main profit is from the monthly subscription fee?
- Pressure from cable companies who are competing for that same dollar.
- Pressure from the MPAA and other concerned copyright holders who don't want high quality digital media to be transferred easily by the average person.
- And dwindling demand to transfer old VHS tapes onto digital tapes or DVD's.
What options do our customers have? Over half of our customers still use the AquaCam with their own recording device. We will now make each model with a longer cable standard so you can use it easier with a VCR, DVR or recordable DVD that you bring on the deck. We are also working on a kit that uses a portable DVR to replace the camcorders we have been using. If you need portability now and want the capability to roam around a 50 meter pool, you can still purchase camcorders and portable recording devices over the internet. They are still available new and used, just not in quantity. Look for the Canon ZR700 and the Sony DCR HC96. These are the most recent units that have the "Analog Recording from an outside source" feature. There is also the Sony GV-D200 Digital8 Video Walkman VCR, which is less portable but is still small and battery powered.
Feel free to call us anytime for tips on items you can use with your AquaCam to make it more portable. Each option has its own advantages and technology changes monthly. We never looked to make a profit on the recording media. We just repackage what we purchase from local stores. Until we come up with our new kit, the best options are to use the longer cable with a 4-head VCR you bring on deck. This gives excellent slow-motion and freeze frame and you can reuse the tapes. Or you can record to a DVD with a DVD recorder. Most disks aren't reusable but costs on those are getting lower every day. You can view them "now-or-later" or give them to the swimmers.
For the time-delay feature we suggest a used TIVO unit that has been "unlocked" with a previous subscription. Or you can buy a new one cheaply and subscribe to the monthly fee ($15-$20). Check Amazon, EBay and Craigslist.
Stay tuned for more information on the newer kit that uses a portable DVR. -AquaCam-
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