Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., known for Panasonic-brand video products worldwide, announced today that the company would introduce five new DVD-RAM recorder models in the Japanese market this spring, including two models to be released simultaneously worldwide. The company also announced that all the new Panasonic DVD recorders will carry the new 'DIGA' name, an acronym formed from the 'D in DVD' and the 'IGA in Giga,' implying huge storage capacity.
The five new models are the Panasonic DIGA DMR-E50, DMR-E60, DMR-E70V (VCR combo system), DMR-E80H (with an 80GB hard disk drive) and the DMR-E90H (with a 120GB hard disk drive), all of which will be released in March and April in Japan with no suggested retail price for each. The DMR-E50 will be introduced simultaneously worldwide in March and DMR-E60 is also to be introduced worldwide within the next six months.
The DVD recorder market in Japan is expected to triple to 2.2 million units this year from 750,000 units in 2002 and 180,000 in 2001. "Panasonic is the top brand with over 50% share of the DVD recorder market in Japan," said Fumio Ohtsubo, Managing Director of Matsushita Electric and President of Panasonic AVC Networks Company. "The higher intrinsic value of DVD-RAM format video recorders has been proved already here in Japan, which is the world's most competitive DVD recorder market. As we introduce more DVD-RAM recorder models to meet the diverse needs of consumers, we aims to capture the same level of market share in the global DVD recorder market which we expect will reach 22 million units in 2005."
"Accumulative 900 million VHS VCR's have been produced and are in use throughout the world," commented Shunzo Ushimaru, Director of Matsushita's Corporate Marketing Division for the Panasonic Brand. "As consumers discover the benefits of home video recording with DVD discs, I am confident that the explosive growth of the DVD recorder market will result in DVD recorders becoming the digital replacement for the VCR's in the home. We estimate that total shipments of DVD recorders in Japan will reach 3-million units next year, surpassing VHS VCR's."
The company took the lead in the Japanese DVD recorder market with its DVD-RAM format which offers advanced features like 'Chasing Playback' and 'Time Slip' functions. Panasonic was also first in adding innovative features to the DVD recorder, including a built-in hard disk drive to give consumers wider flexibility and longer recording time.
"With the E50 and E60, we offer consumers more value for the cost," explained Mr. Ushimaru. "For the E70V which is a combination of VHS VCR and DVD-RAM recorder, we expect to meet the potential needs of consumers who want to digitally save their analog home video library on robust DVD media. And the E80H and E90H will further strengthen our position in high-end DVD recorders with hard disk drives and SD Memory /PC card slots."
"Panasonic will launch the E50 simultaneously worldwide in March, followed by the E60 in April and after," said Mr. Ohtsubo. "This new Panasonic DVD-RAM recorder lineup is based on a wonderful idea for our daily lives: easy, reliable, feature-rich recording on digital disc media. It will offer consumers the clear benefits of simple networking with other digital appliances such as DV-format digital camcorders and digital still cameras."
In addition, all Panasonic 2003 DVD player, including Portable DVD Players, and home theater system lineup will offer consumers DVD-RAM playback capability. And interoperability of recordable DVD disc media in personal computers is further expanding creative applications for consumers to enjoy.