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Pioneer to wed digital vid recorder, DVD

Combo player to be introduced in 2002

With digital video recorders like TiVo and Replay threatening to undermine the long-term viability of homevideo recorders that require something to record on just as consumer electronics manufacturers are preparing to introduce VCR-like DVD recorders, Pioneer Corp. is moving swiftly to make a machine that will do both.

Andy Parsons, senior veep at Pioneer New Media Technologies, said that a combination player that will allow the time-shifting convenience of digital video recorders and the storage and portability of DVDs will be introduced in 2002.

“We believe the two technologies will co-exist,” Parsons said, noting that permanent and removable storage formats like DVD will always be needed for sharing a copy of a video with a friend or watching the program on another machine, as well as permanently storing video programming like home movies.

He also said digital video recorders such as TiVo and Replay will always have a finite amount of storage space, which right now is 30-60 hours.

Tech decisions

Pioneer has yet to determine whether it will license the technology of TiVo or Replay or that which Microsoft uses in the Ultimate TV or DishPlayer systems, or whether it will devise its own similar technology.

The news comes as Pioneer is hoping to be first to market in the first quarter of next year with a rewritable DVD recorder that will offer VCR-like recording and playback functions on the more durable and higher quality DVD format.

The price of the initial player that offers both DVD-RW technology (for re-recording up to 1,000 times) and DVD-R (for superior quality and longevity but only a single recording) will be about $2,500.

The first DVD recorders in 1998 were priced at $17,000, and the second generation DVD recorders last year that were priced at $5,400. Pioneer is working with Sharp to introduce a DVD recorder by Christmas 2001 for less than $1,000.

The Pioneer DVD recorder is capable of storing up to six hours of video on a single disc and can play and record all CDs and the new DVD-audio format, Parsons said.

A DVD-RW drive for computers that will also be introduced in the first quarter will be previewed at the Comdex convention next month. A price point for that piece will be divulged then.