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Panasonic Unveils 2nd-Generation DVD Recorder

SECAUCUS, N.J. — Panasonic announced plans to ship its second-generation DVD recorder, based on its DVD-RAM disc format technology, this fall.

The new unit (model DMR-E20) will ship first in Japan in July, followed in the United States in October. The suggested retail price was listed at $1,499.95, marking a significant reduction from its first DVD-RAM deck, which shipped last August at $3,999.95.

Silver and black cabinet options will be available.

New features in the DMR-E20 include DVD-R write-once disc compatibility, and the addition of a PVR-like time-shifting system called “TimeSlip” that allows play back of a program while recording. The deck employs a 22.16 Mbps data transfer rate for the process.

In addition to offering a write-once capability, the DMR-E20 will record up to six hours on one DVD-R disc.

To enhance the ability of users to dub VHS home movies onto DVD-RAM discs with the unit, Panasonic has included a noise reduction process, including input time-base correction, 3D Y/C separation and 3D DNR. Using the systems, the DVD-RAM recording is “capable of having better picture quality than the analog original,” Panasonic said.

A “Playlist” function enables non-linear video editing, so that scene order can be easily rearranged in any sequence.

Panasonic said DVD-R recordings made on the new deck will be playable in DVD and DVD-ROM drives. A two-hour DVD-R (with up to six hours of storage capacity at lower resolution) carries a $13.99 suggested retail. It will be available when the deck ships.

Additionally, the company announced a new, two-sided, 9.4GB DVD-RAM disc ($34.99 each) that can hold up to 12 hours of video. For comparison a 4.7GB single-sided disc sells for $27.99, and a 4.7 GB single-sided disc without cartridge sells for a $21.99 suggested retail.

The DVD-RAM discs can be played back on DVD-RAM-compatible DVD players ¾ including Panasonic’s DVD-RP91 and DVD-H2000 ¾ or on a PC or laptop computer equipped with DVD-RAM playback capability.