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Sharp to launch budget Blu-ray recorder

Recorder sacrifices tuner to cut costs

Sharp has developed a Blu-ray Disc recorder that cuts costs by doing away with the tuner. Instead, the BD-HP1 will use the tuner present in a television set to record TV programmes.

The recorder, which Sharp describes as "a player that can record", connects via iLink (Firewire) to a TV. Sharp says it will work with all models of its Aquos LCD TV line that sport an iLink connector. The TVs can power just their tuner, so the entire set doesn't have to be switched on to make recording possible.

Sharp hasn't checked if the recorder will work with other TVs that have an iLink connector, and will only guarantee compatibility with Sharp models.

It's compatible with single-layer BD-RE (Blu-ray Disc Rewritable) discs. Each has a capacity of 25Gb, which is enough for about 3 hours of terrestrial digital high-definition TV or about 2 hours of satellite-delivered HDTV (which is broadcast at a higher bit-rate). The discs can hold over 6 hours of standard definition television.

Leaving out the tuner cuts the price of the recorder but there are some disadvantages. Since each tuner can only receive one channel at a time, it makes it impossible to record one channel while watching another.

The BD-HP1 will go on sale in Japan on 20 March, Sharp said. It will be priced at about ¥150,000 (£650). That's makes it a little cheaper than recently launched Blu-ray Disc recorders from Sony and Panasonic.

A similar model is due to go on sale overseas later this year. Sharp hasn't yet determined the exact timing, markets or pricing.

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