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Thursday, September 09, 2004
A DVD Recorder That Takes Requests From the Rroad

The machine has a 400GB hard disk drive, is capable of zapping video elsewhere in a home, and is designed to let consumers program recording remotely over the Internet--including via cell phones.

The new product from Panasonic, dubbed the DMR-E500H, and related devices with smaller hard drives, are slated to be available in Japan beginning Sept. 21.

The DMR-E500H, billed as allowing for more than 700 hours of recorded video, demonstrates the growing capabilities of devices combining DVD recording with hard drives. A hybrid between traditional DVD recorders and so-called digital video recorders, such machines allow users to begin watching a show from an earlier moment in a live broadcast. These types of products are battling against a new generation of personal computers to be kings of the digital living room.

Bob O'Donnell, analyst at research firm IDC, said making programming choices may not be appealing on the small monochrome cell phone screens common in the United States. But things are different in Japan, he said. "It's totally possible with the 2-inch, flip-phone cell-phone color screens," he said. "In Japan, everybody has those."

Panasonic said the DMR-E500H offers high-speed dubbing from its hard disk drive onto DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs. The machine can record a 1-hour program onto a DVD-R disc in just 56 seconds, according to Panasonic.

The product comes with an Ethernet port and a broadband receiver, Panasonic said. With the Ethernet connection, MPEG4 video and JPEG photos can be viewed on a PC in another room, the company said. Using two DMR-E500Hs, MPEG2 video on one can be accessed by the other on the local area network.

Broadband Internet access allows users to program recording through such mobile devices as cell phones and PCs while away from home, Panasonic said. Users also can transfer pictures between the DVD recorder and their mobile device, according to Panasonic.


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