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DVD-Recording, Home Networking Highlight Japan CE Show Offerings

Chiba, Japan — Bluetooth-based products, HD recorders using blue laser, SD and Memory Stick-based products, home network items, and HD plasma and LCD screen TVs were just some of the products shown at CEATEC 2000 at the Makuhari Messe complex here this week.

Last year plenty of companies showed many of these products as prototypes. This year they were showing actual products, some of which have just begun to ship in Japan or are soon to ship for this market. Here are some highlights of CEATEC offerings:

Sony: An HDTV-capable DVD recorder using blue laser technology was one of the highlights of Sony’s offerings at the show. The unit features two hours of HD recording, and many more hours in standard-definition format, on one DVD disc.

The Airboard, which was described as a “personal IT television,” made its debut at the show. The 10.4-inch LCD TV combines TV reception with wireless e-mail and Internet access. Available here in December, the price should be around $1,193, a spokesperson said.

A clip-on hard-disk video recorder, the SVR-715, has begun shipping in Japan for about $1,816. Sony also showed a 32-inch plasma display prototype.

Pioneer: A major highlight of Pioneer’s booth was its HD optical disk recorder, the DVR-blue, which features a blue laser and two-hour recording capacity. The prototype has a 405nm-laser wavelength, 22.5GB storage capacity and a data transfer rate of 35MB.

Pioneer also showed the DVR 2000 digital recorder, which is DVD-R and DVD-RW compatible and can play back conventional DVD movies. The unit features iLINK, and a 32-step manual mode, in addition to a two-hour standard recording mode. It will ship in Japan soon.

Victor Co. of Japan: The parent company of JVC America, the company showed a 50-inch D’aliah projection TV. This is the second version of the unit, which will ship in Japan in December for $7,798. A company spokesman said Victor Co. expects to ship this unit in the United States next year.

A digital Hi-Vision D-VHS deck, with high-definition VHS mode will ship here in November. The time for a U.S. introduction has not been set.

An HDTV-ready 32-inch direct-view set with built-in tuner will be available here in December for a $4,037 equivalent retail price. Also, the company, which is member of the DVD-RW Product Promotion Initiative, showed a DVD-RAM-based recorder that may be introduced soon, once format concerns in the industry have been resolved, a company spokesperson said.

Another highlight of the booth was a hybrid digital/analog video recorder, incorporating a 20GB hard-disk drive and an S-VHS VCR. Users can cache recordings on the hard drive and transfer them to S-VHS for archival purposes. The unit will ship in Japan in November at a U.S.-equivalent $1,725 suggested retail price.

Hitachi: A 55-inch DLP-based rear-projection digital TV for the U.S. market highlighted the company’s CEATECH offerings. The unit, which was recently shown at the CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis, is slated to ship in December at a $12,999 suggested retail price. The 16:9 unit will display the 720p HDTV format natively in 1,280 x 768-pixel resolution when connected to a DTV set-top decoder. It includes Dolby Digital 5.1 and Pro Logic Surround Sound decoding.