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Panasonic Debuts Blu-ray Recorders For Japan Market

Panasonic introduced three Blu-ray recorders featuring a new-generation UniPhier system LSI based on 45-nm process technology that offers more storage than prior models.

That introduction, along with a full presentation of Panasonic’s “Living In High Definition” strategy, was on display at its booth during the CEATEC Japan 2007 show that began here on Tuesday.

The Blu-ray recorders, which are popular in Japan, will probably not be introduced in the United States in the foreseeable future, according to Panasonic and other top Blu-ray hardware makers.

However, Panasonic’s new recorders are available in Japan this fall and illustrate many of the capabilities of the format. They can now store up to 18 hours of full HD video onto a 50GB double-layer Blu-ray Disc or up to 381 hours of full HD videos onto a 1TB built-in hard disk drive (HDD), Panasonic said.

In terms of Japan’s digital HD broadcasts, the new recorders can record four times more than previous MPEG-2 TS recorders in the DR mode. In addition to video, the new decks can record 5.1 surround sound “without deterioration in sound quality,” Panasonic reported.

The new UniPhier system is a single chip that supports real-time encoding of full HD videos. Additionally the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 High Profile HD video compression technology contributed to the “significant increase in HD recording hours,” the company said. Panasonic also drew on technology from its Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory (PHL) that offers BD-ROM authoring services to major Hollywood studios.

For instance the DMR-BW900 has a 1TB HDD, the DMR-BW800 has a 500GB HDD and the DMR-BW700 has a 250GB HDD and features other PHL technologies including high-precision color signal processing called the “PHL Reference Chroma Processor” that enables Hollywood-standard video. DMR-BW900 and DMR-BW800 have 1080p HD playback capability with a 24-fps frame rate, the same rate as motion films.

Panasonic claims it has the slimmest industry profile available at a height of 59mm, and produces 7.1 channel surround sound of BD movies, supporting Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio formats.

Panasonic also showed at its massive CEATEC booth its “Living In High Definition” lineup featuring its full HD 1080p line of Viera flat-panel TVs from 37-inch LCD models to the 103-inch plasma. The company showed how all of its DVD and Blu-ray Disc recorders, SD memory card camcorders and Lumix digital still cameras support the AVCHD format.

The company showed how home networking with Viera and HD-enabled products cannot only provide access to the Web and present the HD audio/video experience, but also provide home security features, the ability to measure electricity use in the home for appliances and CE products, and medical measurements and fitness.