Panasonic squeezes more HD TV onto normal DVD

Panasonic's new Diga HD TV recorders include VHS and super-long-play compression techniques

If you thought VHS was dead, then think again and take a look at the latest impressive Diga-branded high-definition video recorders from Panasonic Japan.

The DMR-XP12 and XP22V go on sale there early next month, with the latter model including, believe it or not, a VHS deck for a spot of old-fashioned tape-based action in the high-def era.

New compression in action

At ¥75,000 (£350) for the XP12 and ¥100,000 (£465) for the XP22, the new Digas don't come cheap, but there's more than enough hardware in place to justify the cost.

Panasonic's banner headlines for the newcomers paint them as the first in the world to record HD TV in a 4x long-play mode using the MPEG-4 AVC compression we've seen before.

(Almost) never-ending story

The upshot is that a mind-bending 94.5 hours of broadcasting will fit onto the relatively small 250GB hard drive each machine carries. Dump that to a standard 8.5GB dual-layer DVD and the span is a still-impressive 3 hours. With compression like that, the fuss about Blu-ray and HD DVD begins to look pointless.

The other features common to both units include dual digital and analogue tuners, SD card slots, the ability to read HD TV recordings in the AVCHD format and a single 1080i HDMI output each. Sadly, neither is likely to be made available overseas.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.