Osaka (Japan) - Panasonic today unveiled what the company is calling the world's first Blu-ray Disc recorders that can play back BD-video discs. The devices can store high-definition video onto the built-in hard drive and burn content onto recordable BD-R and BD-RE media.
As U.S. customers are still waiting for most of the first generation Blu-ray players, Japanese consumers are about to get already the second phase of HD media. Panasonic's new DIGA DMR-BW200 and DMR-BR100 will allow users to record high-definition and regular media content onto 25 GB and 50 GB BD-RE and BD-R discs at 4x speed.
The DMR-BW200 comes with 500 GB oh hard drive space, which - according to Panasonic - is enough for 60 hours of compressed HD video; the BR100 will offer 200 GB. Accordingly, the company claims that a 50 GB Blu-ray disc can hold six hours of HD programming.
Blu-ray discs in a U.S. retail store
The higher-end BW200 has a total of seven TV tuners to allow for multiple viewing and recording of digital, HD, and analog channels. In addition to being able to record two digital channels at once, users can also record one to the HDD while burning another program in real-time to a BD disc. Both recorders support 1080p resolutions and can convert between content between HD and SD. For users who want to save to DVD, the recorder can downgrade the high-definition quality to standard definition. Conversely, the HDMI inputs allow regular DVDs to be up-converted to, according to Panasonic, "near-HD quality."
Pricing and availability of the recorder have not been announced, but industry sources told TG Daily that the DMR-BR100 will cost at least $2000 in Japan.
The variety of Blu-ray players is still somewhat limited in the U.S. Samsung's BD-P1000, which has been introduced for $1000, is currently selling for as little as $600 in etail, according to Pricegrabber.com. Panasonic's DMP-P1000 sells for $1300 and Sony promises to ship its BDP-S1 player "on or around" 25 October for $1000.