Users who have been drooling over upcoming set-top Blu-ray and HD DVD recorders like the Toshiba RD-A1 will be disappointed by the latest announcements by Panasonic, Sony, and Toshiba. At the Ceatec trade show in Tokyo, Japan, the three companies disclosed that they had no plans to bring set-top Blu-ray or HD DVD player/recorders to the United States. Their decision is reportedly due to differences between the U.S. and Japanese markets. A Toshiba executive told CNet that 80-90% of demand for DVD players in Japan is for player/recorders, while U.S. users are more prone to use solutions like TiVo, instead.
Of course, more adventurous users may find better value in a cheap home theater PC with a Blu-ray burner or an upcoming HD DVD burner than in a set-top recorder: Panasonic’s BW 200 and BW 100 Blu-ray recorders are priced between the equivalent of $2,200 and $2,500 in Japan, and Toshiba’s RD-A1 costs a whopping $3,375.