Philips Announces DVD-Video Recording Technology for Consumer Use

Buried in all the hoopla and exciting digital television news at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month was the answer to many DVD fans' prayers: Philips Electronics announced that it has developed a technology for real-time recording of DVD-Video discs. According to Philips, the recorded discs can be played back on existing DVD-Video players, offering up to four hours of record/playback time at various levels of quality.

The company says the machine is based on DVD+RW technology, which has a 4.7 GB capacity, as well as on the technology required for real-time recording of non-copyrighted video sources. Philips further claims that "DVD-Video quality," including variable bit-rate recording for optimal quality, can be reached by using "lossless linking," a technology developed specifically for the DVD+RW 4.7 GB format.

Adri Baan, chairman and CEO of Philips' Consumer Electronics division, says the technology offers two unique advantages. "The recorded discs can be played back on existing DVD-Video players, and recordings can be made in real time. There is no need for a lengthy, multistep process on a PC. DVD-Video will become the mainstream video distribution format.

"The Philips DVD-Video recorder technology is an answer to consumers' expectations: a DVD-Video-player-compatible recording format. For any long-term successful format, it is essential that there are both home-recorded and published/pre-recorded discs, and that these can be used in the same equipment. We firmly believe that adding recording capabilities to DVD players will boost the appeal of the DVD system. Increased sales of equipment and pre-recorded discs can therefore be expected."

Philips plans to introduce the first DVD-Video recording products in 2000; these products initially will be aimed at the high-end segment of the video-recorder market. The DVD-Video recorder will also feature onboard editing capabilities, using a random-access process that will allow editing on a single DVD-Video recorder. (Editing of private camcorder material on conventional equipment generally requires two video devices.) For advanced editing, a PC interface will be provided.

The DVD+RW 4.7 GB format was designed for compatibility with existing DVD-Video and DVD-ROM equipment. DVD-Video recordings can also be played back on PCs with DVD-ROM drives and MPEG2 decoding capabilities. This technology offers the possibility of combining digital video and other data in a single file system, which is necessary for multimedia recording applications. Philips also states that "It is our intention that Philips' DVD-Video recording equipment will comply with generally accepted methods to prevent illegal copying and piracy."