Panasonic unveils terabyte Blu-ray recorders

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Osaka (Japan) – Panasonic announced three new Blu-ray recorders with integrated hard drives that are good for storing up to 381 hours of full HD video, thanks to what appears to be the first 45 nm chip on the market.




It isn't Intel that will be first to be introducing 45 nm chips after all. In a rather surprising announcement made at CEATEC Japan 2007, Matsushita - better known for its consumer brand-name Panasonic - introduced three new Blu-ray recorders that enables users to store up to 200 HD movies on the integrated hard drive.

At the heart of the new players DMR-BW700, BW800 and BW900 is a new 45 nm LSI, which encode and decode content in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 instead of the previously used MPEG-2 format. Matsushita said that the transition has "quadrupled the recordable time for the same media compared with MPEG-2 (…) since the image compression can be performed at twice or three times the usual efficiency."

The manufacturer did not release any performance details about the chip, but noted that it carries 250 million transistors.

Of course, storing HD videos still requires lots of storage space, and the new Blu-ray recorders have lots of it. The entry-level 700 comes with 250 GB, the 800 with 500 GB and the 900 with 1 TB, which, according to Matsushita, is enough to hold up to 381 hours of "full" HD video. At least in theory, consumers should be able to create a library of around 200 movies on the 900.

Pricing has not been announced, but we hear that the new players will cost between 180,000 yen to 300,000 yen when they will be released on November 1. Checking the currency converter, the Japanese price translates into a price range of about $1550 to $2590. Matsushita did not say if it will make these new recorders available outside of Japan.