Blue laser shortage or not, Sony's hoping to avoid the delay bug
with its first Blu-ray disc recorders
, just announced at CEATEC 2006 for early December release in Japan. Both models will record two TV programs at once via their two digital and one analog tuners. Backing up video to Blu-ray discs is limited to 25GB -- no 50GB BD-R/BD-RE writing or reading here -- but it will play cartridges from the old Blu-ray recorders, as well as the new AVCHD discs
. With the right NTT cellphone you can schedule recordings from anywhere, but at home owners will enjoy the slick PSP-style XMB crossbar menu
like other Sony products
. The high-end BDZ-V9 is the only choice if you must have 1080p output, DLNA streaming to connected PCs or compatible displays and video conversion to MPEG-4 to transfer directly to a PSP. All the connections you'd expect are a go, including HDMI out, plus i.Link and USB inputs to hook up digicams and make as many sentimental James Blunt-soundtracked slideshows as you can with the included x-Pict Story HD software. The BDZ-V9 will set buyers back a cool ¥300,000 ($2,543 US) or so on December 8th, with the value-priced BDZ-V7 only expected to go for ¥250,000 ($2,119 US) when it hits on December 19th. They may not have the 4x Blu-ray recording of Panasonic's lineup
or the soul-crushing bulk of Toshiba's 1TB RD-A1
, but with a simple menu system and joystick based remote control Japanese gamers who didn't get one of the 100,000 launch PS3s will still bring Blu-ray to their living room this year.