Okay, now I’m really puzzled. I had (well, I still have) a Panasonic DVR that we loved to use. It made recording programs off-the-air so much easier to use than the old VHS recorder it replaced. But with the end of analog broadcasts, it’s now just a somewhat complicated DVD player. And aside from TiVo, I’m not aware of anyone who is offering a DVR with digital tuners. The reason that I’ve been given is that there just isn’t any demand for DVRs any more.
That makes sense. Most people have cable or satellite service, and almost all of these provide DVR functions either in the set top box or back in the cable company’s servers. This can be a bundled or extra cost feature, but it is readily available. And even if you don’t have it, full episodes of many of the popular shows are available online, either through the network’s Web site or a service such as Hulu. So people just don’t see the need for a separate DVR these days. I get it.
The reason that I’m puzzled is that Mitsubishi and Hitachi seem to think that people want DVRs after all. Both companies have announced new lines of HDTVs that contain built-in hard disk drives to provide digital video recording funtions. The Mitsubishi “Real BHR” LCD sets come in 32″ and 37″ sizes, the LCD-32BHR300 and LCD-37BHR300. They feature a 320 GB hard disk drive, as well as a Blu-ray recorder. Hitachi is offering its P-XP035 series of plasma HDTVs in sizes from 42″ to 50″, with a 500 GB hard drive for DVR functions.
Now, both of these announcements are for sets that will only be available for the Japanese market at this point, so maybe there’s a difference about that segment that I don’t understand. But I’m curious if they will eventually be rolled out for sale over here.