updated 09:30 am EDT, Tue October 2, 2007
Panasonic DIGA Blu-Ray
Panasonic this morning launched the CEATEC expo in Japan with some of its first TV recorders with built-in Blu-Ray burners. The DIGA BW700, BW800, and BW900 all have 4X BD-R drives that can record programming from either their single analog or dual digital TV tuners to the recent disc format. By using AVC (H.264) rather than MPEG-2, this lets users store an exceptionally large amount of video on a single disc: up to 18 hours of digital video can be stored on a 50GB dual-layer disc by using a more heavily compressed high efficiency mode, Panasonic says. Hard drives also keep a more permanent collection, with up to 1TB of content (381 hours) available to watch or burn later.
The new DIGA models also accept alternate forms of playing back and transferring saved clips. The BW800 and BW900 will both play movies at up to their native 1080p and support HDMI's "deep color" spec as well as newer Blu-Ray interactive features, and surround audio encoded in Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD. An SD card slot will play both AAC and JPEG files directly from the card but can copy any H.264 or MPEG-2 videos to the hard drive. Video can be optimized for cellphones and even copied to a PC through an Ethernet connection, according to the company.
The BW700 will start the line with a 250GB hard disk, D4 and HDMI inputs, plus a single FireWire input for about $1,554. Upgrading to the BW800 adds a 500GB drive plus the previously mentioned 1080p support, a second FireWire port, and co-axial audio out for $1,986. The top BW900 doubles storage again to 1TB for $2,590. All are expected to ship November 1st in Japan. [via Impress]