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Sony connects VCR to PC

The electronics giant will ship the first digital home VCR in the United States that will allow direct connection to a PC.

Sony Electronics says it will ship in April the first digital home video cassette recorder in the United States with technology that will allow direct connection to personal computers.

The IEEE 1394 specification, also known as Firewire, bridges the gap between consumer electronics devices and PCs. Essentially, 1394 boils down to a high-speed connection on a computer to 1394-compatible consumer electronics products such as video cameras, VCRs, and electronic instruments for high-speed transfer of video, audio, and other multimedia data.

Wide adoption of the 1394 technology specification among PC vendors is expected to begin in the second half of 1997.

At an expected price of $4,199, Sony's new VCR will allow people to copy and edit home videos made by digital Handycam recorders with virtually no loss of quality, the company says. In addition, direct connection to a 1394-compliant PC will enable video editing on a PC.

VCRs and camcorders aren't the only electronic devices getting wired with 1394, which was originally developed by Apple Computer.

Compaq Computer is developing a Simply Interactive PC that will use 1394 technology in a product that will look more like a home entertainment device than a traditional computer. Compaq's SIPC is expected to work with a large-screen monitor or TV and digital audio built around the Dolby Pro Logic Surround Sound system.

Also, Texas Instruments is shipping the Extensa 900 series notebooks, which support the 1394 specification.