Sharp unveils first Blu-ray recorder/TV combos

One of the main advantages of having DVD and VHS/TV combos is the ability to set up the TV pretty much anywhere, such as mounting it on a wall without untidy cables leading off to a DVD player or VCR.  With Blu-ray aiming to take over the DVD format, Sharp decided to develop a simlar solution for the Blu-ray format with what it calls the world’s first TV with a built-in Blu-ray recorder.   

These AQUOS DX-series models will feature dual digital tuners to allow users to watch one channel while recording another and will be available in screen sizes of 26", 32", 37", 42", 46" and 52".  The TVs with 37" to 52" screen sizes are Full HD (1080p).  Recordings are made in the H.264/AVC video format, which allows up to 5 times more recording time compared with the MPEG2 recording format used by earlier Blu-ray recorders.  As a result, a 25GB single layer Blu-ray disc can hold up to 11 hours of HD recording.

Sharp is set to start shipping the Blu-ray TV combos in Japan starting next month and in the US by the end of the year.  However, they don’t plan shipping these to Europe until 2009.  Despite the high price of standalone Blu-ray recorders, the new TV combos will only be ¥10,000 (~US$99) to ¥20,000 (~US$198) more expensive than the equivalent Sharp LCD models without a built-in recorder.  The prices of the 26" and 52" Blu-ray recorder TV combos will be ¥170,000 (~US$1683) and ¥500,000 (~US$4950) respectively.