PC WORLD: Video is key in next year’s new gadgets

PC WORLD: Video is key in next year’s new gadgets
The line between the home computer and home entertainment continues to blur, according to Martyn Williams of the IDG News Service in an article for PC WORLD. The story looks at new gizmos launching in Japan next year. Unfortunately, not all will be available here, but looking at them provides a window to the future.

NEC’s latest video recorder, the PX-AX300H, is due on sale in Japan in January and packs an impressive 300GB of hard-drive-based recording space. At the lowest-quality recording setting, which uses an MPEG2 1.2‑megabits-per-second stream, that’s enough space for 423 hours of video. Put another way, you can record an hour of television per day for an entire year and still have plenty of space left for those New Year’s holiday movies and specials.

The other advantage of all this space is the ability to record everything at the highest-quality setting, an 8‑mbps MPEG2 stream, without having to worry about filling the disk. The device also includes a DVD-RAM/R recording function, and can be plugged into your computer network so you can watch recorded TV shows from a PC with software supplied by NEC.

IO Data’s AVLP1/DVD looks like a conventional DVD player, but if you peer a little closer at the connectors on the rear, you’ll notice something different: an Ethernet socket. This allows the device to be connected to a home network and for users to watch or access content from PCs on the network.

Broadcasters have great difficulty with the concept of the “blurring line” to which Martyn refers, and it’s a major stumbling block in their efforts to survive. A video signal is a video signal, regardless of how it’s delivered or what platform is doing the delivering. Applications that ride existing platforms (as stated so beautifully by FCC Chairman Powell) are where it’s at now, because they don’t come with the costs associated with maintaining the platform; in TV’s case, the transmission of a TV signal. More resources can go to content, which is the real magic bullet of the future.

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