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DVR Goes Mainstream

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, June 9, 1999

Make room next to the VCR for something called a DVR. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bootcamp, a report on computers and technology. It will change the way you watch TV. Digital video recorders are going mainstream...with Panasonic selling models this Fall using technology developed by Replay Networks. What's the big deal?

"You can pause live TV."

Panasonic's Andrew Nelkin. So for instance...

"You're watching a baseball game, the phone rings, there's two strikes, you don't want to miss the pitch and you don't want to hear what's happening while you're on the phone. You just hit a pause button, you go you answer the phone, you come back, you hit play. It starts playing where you left off and at the same time is recording in the future."

You can catch up to the live action during a commercial. The DVR records onto the same kind of hard disk that you have in your computer. If you come home ten minutes after your favorite show started, just hit the rewind button and watch while the rest of the show is still being recorded. Pretty cool. The basic ten hour capacity model will sell for about 700 dollars. Replay Networks has been selling the devices on the web at replaytv.com, but the Panasonic deal will bring the technology to the mass market. Replay's Jim Plant expects prices to come down...

"Consumer electronic products drop in price and grow in capacity and features very quickly. And we think things will be no different with this category as well."

You can find VCRs today for under a hundred dollars.