Going for the Record
Recordable DVDs were coming on very strong, almost as if the manufacturers want to kill off VHS, which would be understandable considering that no hardware maker has profited very much from the videocassette for years. The recordable-DVD format conflict shows no sign of resolution, as there were two separate trade associations with exhibits and presentations, one leaning toward DVD-RW and the other toward DVD-RAM, and Philips was making their DVD+RW recorders, including the model we recently tested, virtually the centerpiece of their exhibit. The resolution of the format war may come from universal players. I came across a Sony model, the DVP-NS900V, which was claimed to play -- hold on -- DVD-R/RW (video mode), DVD-RW (VR mode), DVD+RW, DVD-Video, SACD, CD, CD-R/RW, SVCD and VCD. The only conspicuous missing format was DVD-Audio, which is not surprising considering the player's manufacturer.
One twist to DVD recorders was Samsung's DVD-H40 ($599) which didn't actually record DVDs but was instead a combination personal video recorder with a 40-GB hard drive combined with a DVD player. This is one unit whose capabilities were clearly intended to replace the VCR.
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