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Neuros preps DVD-quality, HDD-enabled video recorders

Open-source systems pitched at geeks

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Neuros is to update its MPEG-4 Video Recorder with a new industrial design and an integrated hard-disk drive. It is also preparing to revive its Digital Audio Computer (DAC) line of MP3 players, basing both systems on both a common hardware platform and open-source firmware.

Both the Recorder III and the Neuros III DAC will be based on a dual-core CPU from Texas Instruments and a Linux-derived operating system, CEO Joe Born revealed in a presentation given to The Register last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. So too will an upcoming upgrade to the company's hand-held media player, the 442.

So, the Recorder III and the 442 Version 2 will both support DVD-quality video recording, and all three devices will provide 96KHz, 24-bit "audiophile" sound quality. They are all likely to operate as USB hosts to enable them to connect directly to media sources such as digital cameras and camcorders.

The 442v2 and the Neuros III will offer NeurosCast, the company's patented FM transmission system. According to Born, the patent covers integrated FM transmission from a handheld device.

Final specifications have yet to be set in stone, but the Recorder III is expected to support Ethernet networking and, we'd guess, WLAN connectivity. The 442v2 will sport a 3.6in TFT display, Born said, plus a choice of 40GB or 100GB storage capacity.

Before the Recorder III ships - tentatively scheduled for Q3 2006 - Neuros will offer a hard drive-equipped version of its Recorder 2 product, offering 40-120GB of storage on which to encode video in iPod- and PlayStation Portable-compatible formats. The move addresses one of the limitations of the current Recorder 2 - the need to store recordings on memory cards. That's fine for a device designed to make it easy to get content onto mobile devices, but limits the unit's value as a set-top box. The addition of a hard drive should change that.

At this stage it's not clear to what extent Neuros will build in broader PVR functionality, but the fact it makes the machine's firmware available under an open-source licence means it's entirely possible its users will add any missing features themselves. Neuros specifically pitches its products at the more geeky end of the market.

The Recorder HD is timed to appear in Q2, Neuros said, ahead of the 442v2 in the Q2/Q3 timeframe. The Neuros III DAC is scheduled to launch Q1 2007, but Born stressed all these release windows are provision and may yet change. ®

Neuros MPEG-4 Recorder III

Neuros MPEG-4 Recorder III

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