One of the biggest battles in consumer electronics next year will be in the personal video player market. Essentially these are small-ish devices that combine a three or four inch LCD screen with a hard disk and video play back software. Users connect them to a TV/PC and then record programmes onto the hard disk (which are converted into MPEG4 files) which they can then play back on the device or hook up to a TV for viewing later.
Archos is currently market leader as its AV300 series products are the only devices of this type currently on sale. It won’t have the market for long though as Thomson is set to debut its Lyra PDP-2860 in the UK next month.
The big news though is that Sony, which unveiled a prototype of a personal video player in Japan earlier this month is to bring a similar device to the UK market probably in early 2004.
It will be up against both Apple (which is predicted to unveil a video version of its iPod in San Francisco in early January) and microsoft, which has several manufacturers working on version of its Media2Go devices.
We’ll be looking in depth at this market and the issues surrounding it later this week.
In the meantime read on for the Sony specs
3.5-inch high-resolution LCD screen
20GB hard drive storing up to 10 hours of MPEG-2 video (higher capacity versions are likely to be available)
Memory Stick slot
Knowing Sony there’s sure to be some copyright management system. If it records DVDs (as the Archos devices do) we’ll be amazed