Panasonic lines up new DVD products

The DMR-E20 video recorder can write to either DVD-R (digital versatile disc recordable), DVD-RAM or the recently launched eight-centimetre version of DVD-RAM. The recorder is the latest version of the DMR-E10, the company's first DVD-based video recorder that was launched a year ago.

The most distinctive added feature allows users to replay a previously recorded program from any point in the program while the machine is recording a new program. The company also unveiled two types of DVD-RAM discs and one type of DVD-R disc including LM-AD240, a DVD-RAM disc with a total recording capacity of 9.4GB. This disc will allow users to record up to 12 hours of video in the recorder's extended play (EP) mode, Matsushita said in a statement.

The recorder will go on sale 1 July in Japan, and Matsushita is planning shipments to the rest of the world in the fourth quarter. The DMR-E20 will be priced at 135,000 yen ($2032) in Japan. The new discs, which will also go on sale 1 July in Japan, will cost 5,500 yen ($82) for a package of five discs via the company's official Web site.

In addition to the video recorder and discs, the company announced the launch of new DVD drives for PCs. The LF-D321JD is the world's first internal drive that can record data on both DVD-RAM and DVD-R discs, according to the company, and the LF-D240JD is an external DVD-RAM drive that carries an IEEE1394 interface for connecting to digital home networks.

The former is expected to be on sale on 10 July 10 at a price of 67,000 yen ($1000), and the latter on June 15 at 68,500 yen ($1030), in Japan. The products may be exported to North American beginning after the third quarter, or may be sold on an OEM (original equipment manufacture) basis to PC makers in the region, according to Matsushita spokesman Shouji Hasegawa.

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