Guide to Wi-Fi Camcorders and Video Cameras

Can camcorders cut the cord?

Video camera next to laptop

 JESHOOTS / Pixabay

Wi-Fi increasingly appears as a standard feature in modern camcorders. It's been incorporated into both conventional and pocket camcorders.

What Wi-Fi Camcorders Can Do

Using Wi-Fi, a camcorder transfers video—even high definition video—to a computer that's on a wireless network. In some cases, a Wi-Fi camcorder appears as a device on a network, which means you can stream the video from the camcorder to a monitor, TV or media player to watch it without having to connect the camcorder directly to a viewing device.

To enjoy this feature, your camcorder must work with the DLNA specification.

Wi-Fi Camcorder Drawbacks

Although Wi-Fi camcorders cut the cord, they do present several downsides.

  • Transferring videos by Wi-Fi to a PC takes considerably longer than it does to transfer those videos using a USB cable.
  • Wi-Fi is a fairly big drain on your camcorder's battery, so you'll have to either have a fully charged battery before you start your transfer or connect the camcorder to a power outlet before you start.
  • All things being equal, a camcorder with some form of built-in wireless capability is usually going to be somewhat more expensive than a similarly equipped model without.

Is Wi-Fi the Next Big Thing?

Wi-Fi might not be hugely popular in a camcorder, simply because HD video files are so large and time-consuming to transfer over a wireless network. Faster Wi-Fi technology (so-called 802.11ac) will help on that front, but it will take some time before mainstream consumers have 802.11ac Wi-Fi networks in their homes.

That said, a fair number of pocket camcorder manufacturers have added wireless technology to their products.

An Eye-Fi Alternative

If you want Wi-Fi capability without purchasing a wireless camcorder, purchase an Eye-Fi wireless memory card. These cards fit into any standard SD card slot and transform your camcorder into a wireless device. Any photos and videos you capture with your camcorder wirelessly transfer not just to your computer but to one of 25 online destinations, six of which also support video uploads (like YouTube and Vimeo).

Eye-Fi cards offer more than just wireless functionality—add geographical coordinates to your videos and upload them to the web using public hotspots, too.