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Panasonic launches Blu-ray/HDD/VHS combo

Blu-ray and VHS - together at last
Blu-ray and VHS - together at last

It's deja vu all over again, with another crazy tech combo out of Japan. Panasonic's new DMR-BR630V player combines the spankingest new 6x-speed recordable Blu-ray drive with the creakiest old VHS technology.

The VHS deck is, as far as our limited Japanese can make out, a play-only device for dubbing your old home movies to either Blu-ray or DVD disc, or the player's built-in 320GB hard drive.

The DMR-BR630V is a genuine High Def recorder, boasting MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 encoding at up to 12.9Mbps and 1080i HDMI output. It's available from October for around 160,000 Yen (£800). Although frankly, we're planning to wait for the HD-DVD/Betamax combo player rumoured to be following very shortly...

1TB storage

The second jaw-dropping Blu-ray recorder out from Panasonic in October is the DMR-BW930K. This 280,000 Yen (£1,400) beauty has no less than 1TB (1000GB) of hard drive storage available for your recording pleasure.

That equates to at least 90 hours of full bit-rate (24Mbps) HD telly, or an brain-melting 1,330 hours in the BW9030's extended play MPEG-2 mode. While 55 days of solid television might sound like a lot, to put it in context, it's roughly how much time was devoted in the Olympics to televising Michael Phelps warming up, punching the air and manfully weeping on the podium.