Our first stop was a huge announcement by Panasonic about their line of DIGA Blu-Ray/DVD recorders. The recorders — BW700/800/900 on the Blu-Ray side and XW200V/100/300 on the DVD side — include monstrous hard drives and we’ll probably never see them over here.
The Blu-Ray series starts at 250GB and tops out at 1TB of internal storage. It records to DVD and Blu-Ray and includes i.Link/Firewire for attaching cameras and other devices. It supports full HDMI out at 1080p.
The DVD series tops out at 500GB and are quite slim at 59mm. The include 7.1 audio out and support AVCHD playback. There are a number of other features, including some crazy intercom mode that records people coming up to your house and ringing your doorbell, but that’s future boy stuff that we’ll get when our children are already colonizing Mars, so whatevs.
The best thing about these devices is that they compress HD video at amazing rates, resulting in about 18 hours on one 50GB disk and 381 hours onto the 1TB HDD. Amazingly, the XW200V model even has a VHS tape player in it.
Pricing is in the $1500-300 range although the BR models are up there in the 300,000 yen range AKA ‘spensive. Available November 1st in Asia, in your dreams in the U.S. These are some severely hard core set-top boxes, especially the 1TB models, so expect some of this tech to trickle down to us over the next few months.