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Panasonic DVD Video Recorder DMR-E60

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They’ve been telling us for years now how DVD’s are going to totally replace VHS. Although we never disbelieved the rumours, we never thought the day would come so soon when DVD recording would be brought into the ease and comfort of our own living rooms. ADAM MEGENS pilots the new Panasonic DMR-E60 to discover if there is any truth to the rumour.

Unfortunately my DVD recorder arrived with one of those rather odd-looking foreign plugs which you will either need to cut off and fit a local one, or make sure to pick up an adapter with your recorder. Other than that, no big surprises, just plug in the aerial and/or RCA cables, pop the batteries into the remote and you’re ready to rock ‚n roll.

If you have ever played a DVD before you are not going to find anything unexpected, just put in the disc and press play. Moving to the next or previous scene is as simple as touching the forward or back buttons. You can browse through the menu options on your disc (if available) by simply using the directional buttons on the remote control. Recording is also not too much of a hassle either. I managed to successfully record a program, use the time slip function and erase what I had recorded all without flipping furiously through an instruction manual. Although the setup menu is neatly laid out and attractive, I would be lying if I said it was fairly simply and the most user-friendly interface I have come across. After all, I did manage to render my beautiful stainless steel remote useless while trying to tune it into my TV’s frequency (and now I’m not even sure if you can do that!). When using the rest of the buttons on the remote (all fifty five of them) it is advisable to consult the instruction manual before-hand. Changing settings on your start up menu can be a little tricky. There is a great deal of features to peruse and patience will prove to be a virtue, especially when it comes to security settings and access codes!

Pretty much, it definitely does record DVD’s. It was definitely a pleasure not having to line up a tape to the right point just to record the wrestling that you forgot about until the last minute. The time slip function does definitely come in handy when that ‚before-the-game-BBQ‚ runs well into half time. Just hit record and start watching from the beginning when you are ready, even while the game is still recording. I should mention that Panasonic’s selling point should not be ease of use though. However, although fairly complicated at times, I imagine that after a fair amount of time and careful studying of an operator’s manual one could quite easily be able to operate the machine to its full potential.

I really believe that this product is innovative in bringing together various multimedia and simplifying it into a single format, one that you do not have to have a computer diploma to operate and master. All the components on their own, like a DVD writer/recorder and PC cards and memory sticks etc are nothing new on the market. I think the designers at Panasonic have done well to combine these different aspects into a very attractive package.

Because it is yet to be launched in South Africa, even Panasonic themselves were unable to give me a firm idea of the cost. However, if you consider that the model below the DMR-E60, the DMR-E50 has a recommended retail price of R7999, and that the DMR-E50 does not boast a PC card slot or memory stick slot and one or two other features, I would estimate that the DMR-E60 will hit the shelves at around R9 999, and that seems a little high to me. But, if you are looking for something new and impressive and have in the region of ten big ones to throw about, there are worse things to blow your cash on.

For any more information on the DMR-E60, contact Panasonic on (011) 313-1400.

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New USB standard doubles up

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The USB Promoter Group has announced the pending release of the USB4 specification, a major update of USB architecture that builds on the existing USB 3.2 and USB 2.0. It doubles the bandwidth of USB and enables multiple simultaneous data and display protocols. The USB4 architecture is based on the Thunderbolt protocol specification recently contributed by Intel.

The new USB4 architecture defines a method to share a single high-speed link with multiple end device types dynamically. This ensures that the connections best serve the transfer of data by type and application. As the USB Type-C connector has evolved into the role as the external display port of many host products, the USB4 specification provides the host the ability to optimally scale allocations for display data flow. Even as the USB4 specification introduces a new underlying protocol, compatibility with existing USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and, Thunderbolt 3 hosts and devices are supported; the resulting connection scales to the best mutual capability of the devices being connected.

“The primary goal of USB is to deliver the best user experience combining data, display and power delivery over a user-friendly and robust cable and connector solution,” said Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman. “The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this experience by optimizing the blend of data and display over a single connection and enabling the further doubling of performance.”

Key characteristics of the USB4 solution include:

  • Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40 Gbps operation over 40 Gbps-certified cables
  • Multiple data and display protocols to efficiently share the total available bandwidth over the bus
  • Backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3

With over 50 companies actively participating in the final stages of review of the draft specification, the USB4 specification is on track to be published around the middle of 2019. Coincident with the release of the USB4 specification, the release of an updated USB Type-C Specification will be made to comprehend USB4 bus discovery, configuration and performance requirements.

USB Developer Days 2019, in the second half of this year, will include detailed technical training covering the USB4 specification and the latest for USB Type-C, USB Power Delivery, and other exciting topics.

This update is part of the USB performance roadmap and is specifically targeted to developers at this time. Branding and marketing guidelines will be established after the final specification is published.

“Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone,” said Jason Ziller, general manager of Client Connectivity at Intel. “By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we’re opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers.”

“USB4’s high throughput and advanced features enable new scenarios in consumer, enterprise, and intelligent edge markets, while maintaining interoperability with existing USB and Thunderbolt 3 devices,” said Roanne Sones, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft OS Platforms. “We are excited to work with our partners in the ecosystem to bring USB4 to market and showcase its benefits.”

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MWC: Cars begin talking to each other via V2X

Vehicle-to-everything communication is ready to roll out globally, says the 5G Automotive Association

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At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last week, the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) announced that ‘Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything’ (C-V2X) communication technology was about to see its first commercial standard: LTE-V2X. In effect the 4G version of C-V2X, the initial version allows vehicles to communicate with each other and their surroundings. Together with 5G enhancements, it will facilitate broad scale improvements in road safety.

“These end-to-end integrated solutions bring enhanced safety, sustainability, and convenience to all road users,” said Thierry Klein, 5GAA vice chair and Head of the Disruptive Innovation Program at Nokia Bell Labs. “5GAA is very excited to be pioneering the revolution towards a smarter and more connected mobility world.”

C-V2X communication is the state-of-the-art, high-speed cellular communications platform that enables vehicles to communicate with one another, with roadside infrastructure, with other road users (such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists) using either direct short-range communications or cellular networks. While C-V2X network-based solutions are already widely deployed, direct communication solutions will be commercially available as of this year. As such the C-V2X platform delivers safety, mobility, traffic efficiency, and environmental benefits. C-V2X is designed with an evolutionary path to 5G and supports safe and efficient operations of autonomous vehicles.

Click here to read about 5GAA members spearheading C-V2X.

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