A few weeks ago, Sony announced in Japan a small device that can record TV programs onto a Memory Stick in a format suitable for playing on a handheld. Today, the company began offering it in the U.S.
The PEGA-VR100K acts somewhat like a VCR, except that it has been especially designed to work with Sony handhelds. Therefore the videos it records are, at their largest, only 320 by 240 pixels and move at just 15 frames per second. Still, they can also be played on a regular TV or computer monitor if the user wants to.
“Digital video recorders allowed people to view TV and cable programs at anytime. We’re adding a new facet to that possibility by enabling people to view those shows anywhere,” said Russell Paik, vice president of handheld marketing at Sony Electronics.
The user can choose from four levels of image quality, depending on whether a better picture or longer playing time is desired. At the highest quality, a 1 GB Memory Stick can hold a bit over four hours of video at a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels. At the lowest quality, even a 128 MB Memory Stick can hold over two hours of video at 160 by 112 pixels.
It comes with a software for the handheld that acts as a channel guide and allows the VR100K to be programmed to record programs in the future. This device should be compatible with any Sony Handheld running Palm OS 5.
Computer monitors with a video input jack will also be able to receive cable and TV signals through the VR100K’s built-in TV tuner. PC viewing of recorded videos requires Apple’s QuickTime software.
The VR100K is available now for $300 at SonyStyle. It should also be in retailers retailers nationwide in the near future.