FireWire Heats Up With New Products
MDE debuted its first "HDTV-grade" Digital VHS VCR intended for recording digital television and other digital sources, including high-definition signals, through its IEEE 1394 digital interface. The D-VHS machine also includes S-VHS analog VCR functionality, as well as HAVi (Home Audio Video interoperability) technology, which allows for control via IEEE 1394 networks and 5C copy protection. MDE's Max Wasinger says that the inclusion of HAVi in this product "matches our commitment to HAVi in our integrated HDTVs, providing consumers with robust, simple control for unmatched ease-of-use."
MDE's vice president of marketing, Robert A. Perry, adds, "While recordable DVD and PVR solutions are reaching the market, they do not offer the combined capability of HDTV-grade wide-bandwidth D-VHS recording capability, removable media, and two-plus hour recording times. This is the first consumer component that presents a full 28.2 megabits-per-second plus recording capability, which enables the recording of HDTV broadcasts from an IEEE 1394 connection. Unlike hard disk–based products, our D-VHS can record from the DTV MPEG2 format IEEE 1394 network source and keep that recording on a tape for archival and later viewing."
MDE also introduced 18 projection televisions, including new HDTV sets with built-in digital ATSC tuner, 1394 networking, 5C copy protection, and HAVi software. Among the new TVs are several Silver and Gold Series analog televisions, the Platinum, Platinum Plus, and Diamond Series HD and HD-Upgradeable televisions, as well as a new DLP-based projection television.
Perry emphasizes that a key factor in MDE's HDTV strategy is the development of "NetCommand" technology, which he says allows existing analog devices as well as new IEEE 1394 devices to be controlled through a common on-screen graphic user interface using a proprietary system. "Expensive LCD-based graphical control systems for analog products, most costing in excess of $6000, have been available for several years, but have not incorporated IEEE 1394 digital device control." Wasinger adds that MDE developed this hybrid digital and analog control system to ensure that "consumers who have or purchase digital IEEE 1394 (FireWire) connected products, as well as existing analog audio-video products, can control all of them on-screen using an icon-based menu system."