CES 2009: Panasonic's VHS/BD Combo Player

As they say - strange bedfellows. I mean, how many times do you hear "VHS" and "Blu-ray" used in the same sentence? And how many times do you see them in the same player?

Panasonic has mated these old and new technologies in the DMP-BD70V player (pictured). It contains both a VHS tape drive and a Blu-ray disc drive. The latter is strictly contemporary, with BD-Live and BonusView support, VieraCast for streaming from YouTube and other sources. There is even a SD card slot for viewing AVCHD, MPEG2 and JPEG(HD) content. Not to mention, there's MP3 and JPEG playback via USB.

The former format (VHS) is strictly not contemporary. It is a playback only deck. Period.

You might be asking - why?

The answer is that right next to that skeleton, there are piles of VHS tapes in your closet, and at some point you might want to watch (or move to another media) that special tape recording of your high-school prom. Or maybe not. In any case, you'll certainly sleep better at night knowing that if required, you have legacy playback capability.

The DMP-BD-70V will retail for 449. -- Ken C. Pohlmann