Panasonic's DVD-RAM video recorder will not be for the poor of pocket, but the rewritable device will start shipping later this month and be on hand in limited numbers for the holiday selling season.
Panasonic's DMR-E10 will carry a $3,999 suggested retail price and initially sell through stereo and video specialty stores with a few finding their way to certain national retailers, said Rusty Osterstock, Panasonic's general manager of DVD. The company plans to ship only about 10,000 players this year. A second model will follow in the latter half of 2001, but prices are not expected to drop below $1,000 for several years.
The recorder uses 4.7GB media -- one disc is included free with each device -- and is fully compatible with PCs and A/V equipment making it a "bridge" device between the computer and home entertainment worlds. One of the DM-E10's features is its ability to download VHS-based video, clean up the image and then store it on the DVD-RAM disc. Osterstock said the recorder has several embedded technologies that automatically eliminate visual and aural interference.
To bring retail sales associates and consumers up to speed on the new product Panasonic is conducting in-store demonstrations and training this month. He did not think the first adopters who purchase the DMR-E10 will be mystified, but the training will be useful for the average consumer.
Panasonic has plans to ship several other DVD-RAM-based products in the next year. The next product will be a DVD-RAM PC drive and a camcorder. Hitachi unveiled its DVD-RAM camcorder at PC Expo in June.
Computers containing the DVD-RAM drive may start appearing before the end of the year and Panasonic will have a branded aftermarket kit in the channel some time after the PCs appear.