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Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Matsushita set for Shift to DVD Recorders

"We are putting an end to the VHS market that we developed, and today are taking the first step to create a market for DVD recorders", said Fumio Otsubo, managing director of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, Ltd, and president of Panasonic AVC Networks Company, at a new product exhibition held in Tokyo on Feb. 5, in which the company announced five lines of new products. Matsushita Electric will accelerate a shift from VHS to DVD recorders.

The company’s plans is to raise the production capacity of its Kadoma factory to 150,000 units per month from the current production of 80,000 units. As for the overseas, the production base in Germany will be set up by the second quarter of 2003 and will be the base for the shipments in Europe.

The products announced this time are priced lower than the conventional machines, and new functions are added. Furthermore, a VCR-DVD hybrid recorder/player also is part of the line-up to promote a shift to DVD players. All the DVD players will share the same trade name; "DIGA."

The attraction of DVD recorders at Matsushita Electric is in the unrivaled low prices. Although the prices of the products announced this time are not drastically cheaper than the market prices of equivalent-class models, the potential functionality seems to outclass rivals. The company reportedly has tried to further reduce the cost this time compared to the previous-model DVD recorders, including the "DMR-E30." First, all the models released this time share the basic parts, such as the optical disc equipment, LSIs and PCBs. The metal mold for the chassis is also shared to the greatest extent possible.

The PCB will be also reduced in size to two-thirds or less compared with the previous generation products. The packaging area is reduced by replacing the package from QFP to CSP etc., and at the same time, peripheral LSIs, such as an audio delay circuit and AV selector circuit, are integrated into the main LSI. Also, the number of parts were also reduced by about 15%.

Matsushita Electric, who is proceeding straight into the post-VCR era, is keeping firmly in mind also the connectivity to networks as the next evolutionary process of DVD recorders. The company has already displayed home-network compatible "AV server" as a sample in exhibitions. Though commercial production of the server is yet undecided, a related product was revealed this time to be its first step. It will be released shortly as a "broadband receiver," with which a video recording timer can be set from outside using mobile phones.

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