Guide to Wi-Fi Camcorders and Video Cameras

Can camcorders cut the cord?

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 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 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 (802.11ac) helps on that front, but not all 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.