Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung used this week's Electronic Retail Show in Birmingham to unveil enough new products to fill a branch of Curry's. Among them was the DVD-H40, a DVD player with a 40GB hard disk.
With the emergence of each new technology — CD-RW, DVD-RW — pundits predict the demise of the trusty VCR. But the hard disk, a technology developed over the last 30 years, seems to be the closest to match the VCR's quick-and-dirty convenience. But at £699 inc VAT it will be a while before the H40 replaces the VCR in the cheap-and-cheerful stakes.
Forty gigabytes is enough space to store 40 hours of TV, 10 DVD titles, or build an archive of camcorder movies by copying them via the hard disk to VHS tape. You can also watch TV while recording the broadcast to hard disk for viewing again later, a feature known as 'scene again'.
The H40 has a Sony Memory Stick slot so, if you use a Memory Stick-equipped digital camera, you can show digital photos on your TV — the 21st century equivalent of an evening around the slide projector.
The unit includes an RF tuner and you can play back CDs, video CDs, MP3s and even DVDs — remarkable stuff for a DVD player.