JVC Introduces New D-VHS D-Theater HM-DH40000 Digital HD VCR On the heels of the introduction of the GR-HD1 (see Widescreen Review Issue 71, April, 2003), the first consumer high-definition (720p) camcorder, JVC Company of America has announced the May 2003 introduction of another D-VHS D-Theater Digital HD VCR, the model HM-DH40000. The HM-DH40000 (MSRP $999.95) and GR-HD1 (MSRP $3,499.95) are designed to complement any HD display device capable of displaying native 720p and 1080i images. The new digital VCR features two four-pin, DTCP-compatible IEEE 1394 (FireWire®/ iLink®) input/output interfaces (one is a DV iLink input/output interface). These will facilitate recording in the HS mode up to 28.2 megabits per second (Mbps) of 720p and 1080i high-definition programming from HD cable set-top boxes, terrestrial ATSC set-box boxes, DTV displays with integrated DTV tuners, HD over-the-air set-top boxes, and HD satellite receivers that utilize the IEEE 1394 interface, maintaining all of their original quality. And from analog VCR sources digital recordings can be made in the STD, LS3, and LS5 modes via the built-in MPEG-2 TS (transport stream) encoder/decoder. The codec function enables D-VHS digital recording from NTSC analog sources as well as DV-MPEG-2 conversion recording from a connected MiniDV video camera. While the expectation throughout the home theatre enthusiast community was that the next D-VHS VCRs would incorporate DTS® Digital Surround™ and DTS-ES™, I regret to report that JVC did not implement DTS in this model. This omission is quite amazing as three of the studios at the initial press unveiling in January 2002 of the HM-DH30000U stated that they would support DTS 96 kHz/24-bit soundtracks on their D-Theater titles as soon as JVC could facilitate the capability, and JVC executives themselves said DTS would be implemented “as soon as they complete work on their DTS encoder.“ Given the fact that every home theatre processor/controller and every DVD player incorporates DTS Digital Surround capability, serious enthusiasts who appreciate the audio improvement that DTS delivers will be disappointed with JVC. As with the previous HM-DH30000 a 5.1-channel Dolby® Digital/ two-channel linear PCM optical audio output is provided. JVC’s New Pro-HD D-VHS Professional System At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in early April in Las Vegas, JVC Professional Products Company announced a new affordable professional high-definition delivery system targeted at post-production, presentation, film, and HDTV facilities. JVC’s system is comprised of an HD MPEG-2 TS encoder, and a recording and playback D-VHS VCR. Unlike consumer D-VHS systems, the professional Pro-HD system includes the provision to create password-protected, high-definition recordings that play back on Pro-HD D-VHS equipment. Based on the HM-DH40000 consumer unit, the Pro-HD D-VHS VCR SR-VD400US ($1,400 MSRP) provides the ability to playback recordings in either the password-protected Pro-HD mode or regular D-VHS and D-Theater modes. Otherwise, the SR-VD400US shares the same capabilities of the HM-DH40000 and can be used to record and play back off-air and satellite HDTV broadcasts, using a DTV or DBS set-top box, or play back D-Theater-protected, prerecorded software. For an exclusive report on these two new HD developments, please see Issue 73, June 2003, which arrives at subscribers homes about mid-May and can be found on national newsstands on May 27.