Pioneer Planning to Release DVD Recorder

Last week, Pioneer announced that next year it will be the first to offer DVD recorder/players and recordable DVDs to consumers in North America and Europe. According to Pioneer, the new machines will allow recording times of up to six hours, indicating that the recorder will compress the video beyond the MPEG-2 compression found on commercially released DVDs.

A company spokesperson has said that the first machines will be released in Japan beginning December 3, at a price equivalent to $2399. Pioneer has not yet named a street date for the units' arrival in the US and Europe. The company estimates that it can sell up to 30,000 units in Japan by March 2000, and between 150,000 and 200,000 units in Japan in the following 12 months. Blank recordable DVD-RW discs for the machines will apparently cost around $30 each, and will be able to be erased and recorded multiple times.

Those hoping to copy commercial DVD releases may have to sit this one out, however, as it is unlikely that Pioneer will allow full-quality digital recording from pre-recorded DVDs. With devices from TiVo and RePlay selling well into the television time-shifting consumer market, Pioneer will likely promote the first DVD recorders as a means of archiving medium- to low-resolution programming, as well as home and semi-pro videos.