By Davis Freeberg
While Bill Gates and Peter Moore were busy promoting the launch of the XBox 360 yesterday, it appears that Microsoft was also preparing for the launch of their latest PVR offering the LRM-519 by LG Electronics. According to BetaNews the product was launched this morning, although it does appear that some Best Buy stores may have jumped the gun on the offering.
This lastest DVR to hit the market appears to be priced at the high end of the spectrum. With a suggested retail price of $599, plus a $10 a month program guide fee, it may not end up being the TiVo killer that LG Electronics hopes it to be, but it does offer a lot of functionality including home media support, DVD burning capablities and the ablity to expand your hard drive without being a hacker or paying weaknees to upgrade your storage. From the BetaNews article
“The device includes a 160GB hard drive and will run on Windows Media Center Technologies. The DVD recorder will support a range of recording formats, including DVD+R, DVD-R and DVD+R Dual Layer discs. Users will also be able to expand the storage space of the unit by connecting external hard drives to the DVR’s 2 USB ports.”
Microsoft has been experimenting with their guide data on the foundation box, but this is the first time that a non MCE Microsoft PVR box has been available to consumers outside of Washington state. While I haven’t seen demonstrations of the Foundation box yet, there does appear to be video of this box in action at Microsoft’s Program guide page. Apparently the box uses the Microsoft Extender platform and could be a good alternative for consumers who want the convenience of an extender unit, but who don’t care to own an XBox 360. DVD Recorder Reviews offers a brief overview of the capabilities of the program guide.
“The Microsoft Program Guide service can search up to 14 days of programs by title, keyword, actor, director or category. Any scheduled recording can be configured to record only once or for an entire season of shows. There’s also up to 90 minutes of “live” TV pause, and even the ability to jump forward 30 seconds.”
Engadget was fortunate enough to demo and review the LRM-519 last September and Everything HDTV was lucky enough to get invited to the LG press event. The Nears provides a detailed analysis of the user manual for the box.
Update: Editor’s note: It’s going to be awfully hard to get excited about this thing without more detail. I can’t find any info on whether or not this unit will support HDTV recording or have more than one tuner. A single tuner non HDTV PVR would be pretty worthless to come to market with at this point. Especially if you have to pay $599 to buy it plus $10 per month for guide data. Seems like the new Vista MCE box and the new HDTV TiVo boxes with CableCARD support due out next year would make this unit pretty much irrelevant.