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Friday, 02 April 2004
The projected release for an HDTV TiVo from Hughes for DirecTV has been held firm at April 1, 2004, however the unit is not in stores as of yet. A quick call around to a number of Southern California mass market retailers confirmed that the announcement wasn’t an April fools joke and that the long awaited HDTV hard disc recording system for DirecTV with the TiVo interface will likely be on store shelves at dealers such as The Good Guys by April 12, 2004. The price will be around $1,000. Rumor has it that there will only be 4,000 to 5,000 units for shipment to launch the component to consumers. Many of the most hardcore HDTV enthusiasts have preordered their units months in advance. The difficulty of use of nearly all current HDTV receivers paired with the lack of being able to easily record the shows you want to see have made HDTV early adopters yearn for the day when they can record what they want from DirecTV in HD. AV industry executives who are subscribers to the competing Dish Network tell AudioRevolution.com that Dish has begun slowly shipping their 921 DVR for HDTV to consumers after showing it at tradeshows for more than a year before customers could actually order one. Supposedly the highest priority on their shipment list is people who had specific older HDTV receivers that could output non-encrypted (DVI or HDMI) material to a D-VHS machine. Those units were disabled by Dish, says this source, over one month ago leaving ambitious HDTV early adopter no good way to record HDTV for a few months.

Recording HDTV on Digital Cable
Historically, cable providers have been sticklers about controlling which hardware you use to view their television programming. The cable industry is seemingly softening its stance on hardware and have adopted a “plug and play” concept discussed at the recent ATSC Convergence in Washington DC last week. The idea is for TV manufacturers to make a somewhat open architecture “slot” on their future sets. Customers will plug in an input card that will come from the cable company and will allow access to HDTV and NTSC programming and right in the set without a tuner. Recording NTSC and HDTV video will still likely be done outside of the set via hard disc recorders. Sony showed two such HDTV recorders at their Los Angeles line launch event. One unit will have 125 hours of standard NTSC recording with 12.5 hours of HDTV storage space. A more expensive unit will have 250 hours of NTSC and 25 hours of HDTV. Prices are expected to be in the $699 to $899 range and should be shipping in June 2004.

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