Samsung's High Definition DVD Recorder
Now don't get too hot and bothered over high-definition DVD recorders, at least just yet. There are several important barriers to overcome, some political, others technological. As usual, the latter are more tractable and include format standardization (the Panasonic scheme is very different from other blue laser recorder schemes and the latter are all slightly different from each other). A Samsung designer told me that there will be a standardization conference of blue-laser recorders later this year, so the earliest you could expect to see one of these devices on the market would be mid to late 2003. And that's if Hollywood gives at least grudging approval to the new copy-protection schemes that will undoubtedly be involved (so hackers won't break it quite so easily, as happened with regular DVDs). You notice that all the talk is of blue-laser recorders, not a blue-laser prerecorded DVD format. Hell will be half frozen over when Hollywood would willingly issue movies on an HD-quality packaged-media format. Unless they can be absolutely copy protected -- and everybody knows that this is not possible -- the film industry isn't going to give away the store, certainly not when the plain "old" DVD format (how quickly we move on in this industry) is still doing so incredibly well. Since HD recorders will probably, at least at first, record only HDTV broadcasts and satellite feeds for which recording permission has been given in the data stream, they may not find much use.
Sony's MP3 friendly MZ-N707MiniDisc recorder
In the meantime you can play with such products as the Samsung DVD-A921, a DVD player with a MemoryStick slot on the front panel! This is apparently for playback of still photos and MP3 files stored on MemoryStick flash memory. Outlaw Audio's Model 950 7.1-channel preamp is still one of the few products with full bass management on all inputs ($899), and it will ably feed Outlaw's Model 770, a 7-channel power amplifier rated at a whopping 200 watts per channel. And through the introduction of yet another slew of ho-hum flash-memory and hard-disk MP3 players (none of the latter I've yet seen at this show are as sexy as the Apple iPod), Sony is sticking with the MiniDisc, which is now MP3-friendly with models such as the new MZ-N707 recorder. This may be another format that wouldn't die, kinda like Beta.
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