Coming This Fall: 2nd Generation DVD Recorder from Panasonic

On May 31, Panasonic announced the DMR-E20, its second-generation DVD video recorder. Carrying a suggested retail price of $1499.95, less than half the price of last year's DMR-E10, the new machine will hit the streets in October.

The DMR-E20 will allow consumers to record high-quality, MPEG2 video on DVD-RAM or DVD-R discs, which can be played back in most DVD players. It will also offer simultaneous playback and recording---a feature Panasonic is calling "TimeSlip"---like personal video recorders made and marketed by companies like TiVo and Replay TV. It will also push home entertainment further toward the convergence of audio, video, and computer technologies.

"DVD-RAM provides a single format for computer and video-based applications. With its vast storage capacity, incredible speed, random access memory, exceptional picture and sound quality, and writing/erasing/rewriting capability, DVD-RAM is highly adaptive to the expanding digital media environment," stated an official Panasonic announcement. Users will be able to edit their DVD videos on a multi-media computer with video editing/production software.

The DVD-RAM format has been approved by industry standards organization The DVD Forum, and is a recordable format compatible with both PCs and a wide variety of digital entertainment products. The DMR-E20 can also record video onto a DVD-R disc, which can then be played back in a conventional DVD video player. "The DMR-E20 provides a whole new way to enjoy the world of digital entertainment," according to Panasonic marketing manager Rudy Vitti. "It not only offers consumers recordability and rewritability, but it's also a practical and flexible way to manage multiple DVD applications." The new machine will be available in either black or silver.

DVD's massive data storage capacity and random access abilities make it a sure winner over tape media. The DMR-E20 will have a data transfer rate of 22.16 Mbps, the announcement claims. A Direct Navigator function will let users instantly access recorded material from an on-screen menu that lists recording dates, times, channels and user-entered titles. Engaging playback or record will be as simple as moving the cursor and clicking on a desired function.

Simultaneously with the introduction of the DMR-E20, Panasonic will release several new varieties of DVD recordable discs, including a two-sided 9.4GB DVD-RAM disc that will accommodate up to 12 hours of video---including material archived on VHS tape. The results may be better than the original, thanks to the DMR-E20's noise reduction processes, input time-base corrector, 3D Y/C separation and 3D dynamic noise reduction system.