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JVC Offers HD D-VHS Solution

JVC reinforced its efforts to bring its VHS tape format into the world of digital television by announcing last week the selection of a copy-protection solution for secure prerecorded HDTV tapes.

The company known as the developer of VHS said it achieved a copyright-protection breakthrough for uncompressed HDTV content and has added it to the standard for the D-VHS format. Further, it said the system has won the endorsement of Fox, which has not yet endorsed a content-protection solution for compressed digital content used in terrestrial DTV broadcasting.

JVC plans to introduce D-VHS recorders for the consumer market soon. The decks will include an IEEE 1394 (FireWire) digital interface and the Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP) — aka 5C — system to secure broadcast, satellite and cable signals, and the Intel-developed High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) system for uncompressed baseband signals, such as those used on prerecorded D-VHS tape. Those signals will be output through a DVI (digital visual interface).

In addition, JVC’s system will include other FireWire compatible technologies, such as DV and JVC’s proprietary RDA (Related Device Authentication) system, all of which will “provide content owners protection while allowing consumers to record and play SD and HD digital video content,” according to a company statement.

The D-VHS decks will support both digital and analog systems. JVC said it is working with other manufacturers to adopt the new system. Most of the major CE manufacturers have already endorsed the D-VHS format, although only Panasonic is currently selling an HDTV-capable D-VHS VCR, the PV-HD1000 ($999 suggested retail). D-VHS tapes store up to 44 gigabytes of digital data.

In announcing his studio’s endorsement of the new prerecorded HD D-VHS system, Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Bill Mechanic said, “This promises to be the system for the content of yesterday, today and tomorrow. [The format allows] the 90 million VHS households, in the U.S. alone, to continue to use their existing VHS libraries.”

JVC said it is working with other studios to gain similar approvals for the standard.