Hitachi TVs reprocess HD video on the fly

Hitachi is offering flat-screen TVs equipped with hard drives that can reprocess HD video on the fly, allowing users to record more hours of content.

Hitachi will soon ship two large plasma televisions equipped with internal hard drives and a chip that can reprocess high-definition video at a lower bit rate in real time, allowing users to double the amount of video they can record.

The W50P-XR10000 and W60P-XR10000 plasma TVs have screens that measure 50 inches and 60 inches across the diagonal, respectively. They are both equipped with a 250G-byte internal hard-disk drive that can store 23 hours of HD content in standard recording mode. Both models were on display this week at Hitachi's booth at the Ceatec exhibition in Chiba, Japan.

For users who want to store more than 23 hours of content, the W50 and W60 offer two additional recording modes that rely on a ViXS Systems Inc. chip to reprocess the video stream at a lower bit rate, effectively doubling the hard drive's capacity to 50 hours or 65 hours, depending on the recording mode selected.

The W50P and W60P are priced at YEN 550,000 (US$6,246) and YEN 950,000, respectively. Both TVs will go on sale in Japan during the fourth quarter of this year.

The W50 and W60 join other televisions in Hitachi's product line that offer internal hard drives for recording video content. On sale in Japan since May, these models include the W37L-HR9000 and W32L-HR9000, which sport 32-inch and 37-inch LCD screens, respectively. The W37L is priced at around YEN 300,000, while the W32L costs about YEN 250,000.