The popularity of MiniDV camcorders has been plummeting, with DVD-based models taking hold. In 2007, DVD-based camcorders will outsell MiniDV-based models for the first time, according to IDC Research; by 2009, hard-disk-based models will also overtake MiniDV ones. So why is everyone ditching the format that gave birth to the era of digital video?

"The vast majority of consumers are buying DVD models on the premise of convenience," says Mitch Glick, assistant manager of marketing for Canon's camcorder division.

Removing a disc from a camcorder and popping it into a DVD player is that format's main benefit. And though MiniDV still offers better video quality, Sony spokesperson Yolanda Hunt-Boes says that for most users, "The video quality [provided by DVD- and hard-disk-based models] is good enough for them."