Today, more and more people are upgrading to HDTV to enjoy modern digital television. And with this, the demand for recording high-definition content is also rising. However, high definition video consumes a lot of hard drive space. Blu ray technology has been devised for this purpose. This technology makes use of similar MPEG-2 compression standard as DTV making it greatly compatible with the international standard for digital broadcasting. A dual-layer Blu-ray disk with 50GB can hold up to six hours of high definition content. Though blu ray players are now available in the US and are more than capable of playing such high definition content, these lack the facility for recording high-definition content.
Blu ray recorders have been devised to serve this purpose. These recorders use a 36Mbps data transfer rate which is adequate to record and playback digital high-definition transmissions while still preserving the original picture quality. A blu ray disc recorder if fully utilized, can playback pre-recorded video on a disc and simultaneously record high-definition video broadcasted on TV.
Blu ray recorders are currently available only in Japan and started off as almost a revolution to digital broadcasting. Some of the many manufacturers of blu ray recorders include Amex, Hitachi, JVC, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Yamaha and Zenith. Consumers in the US have been waiting the longest time for blu ray manufacturers to introduce blu ray recorders in the US. Though it is always speculated, it has not materialized. Panasonic however, is expected to release the first freestanding blu ray recorder in the US during the first half of 2009. Though the anticipation for blu ray recorders make the market prospective, blu ray recorders face heavy competition from other existing high definition recording devices like the HD-TIVO and Cable/Satellite HD-DVRs. Movie studios and other content providers are also demanding certain copy-protection requirements to be met by blu ray recorders. Further, the price of blu ray recorders, from what we have seen in Japan, is far higher than the price of standalone blu ray players (already introduced in the US) which the US market already perceive to be expensive. Another factor to consider here is the price of HD DVRs. A blank 25GB BD-R Disc cost about $8-$10 which is relatively cheap as well as convenient.
Despite all the negatives, the introduction of blu ray recorders to the US is a much awaited phenomena.