Philips's $500 DVD+RW Recorder

Philips Electronics has often tested the market for new products by introducing them under its Magnavox brand. In late February, the Dutch industrial giant announced that it would follow that tradition with the release of a $499 DVD+RW recorder wearing the Magnavox badge.

The MDV-630R machine will be sold by mass merchandisers that already carry other Magnavox products. At less than $500, the 630R will skip some high-tech niceties, such as a broadband IEEE-1394 (i.LINK) interface for direct digital connection with digital camcorders or other digital video sources. It will have plenty of analog inputs that owners can use to transfer home videos to optical discs. The sales pitch will emphasize the fragility of tape and the permanence of DVDs.

Philips has more upscale DVD recorders in the pipeline, to be sold under the corporate brand name. Due in April is the i.LINK-equipped DVDR75. That machine will sell for $699. In June, Philips will deliver the DVDR80, to retail for $799. Both recorders will feature front-mounted interfaces for ease of use. The DVDR80 will be capable of recording up to eight hours, and will include GemStar's subscription-free electronic program guide.

New machines with ever-declining prices are populating the DVD recorder niche. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Thomson announced an RCA machine to sell for $599. Panasonic will soon deliver the DMR-E50, a DVD-RAM/DVD-R recorder at the same price. Chinese manufacturer Apex Digital, which dominates the market for entry-level DVD players, reportedly has plans for a $699 DVD+RW recorder.