While Sony talked about shipping a Blu-ray recorder with no release date announced, Panasonic actually shows us the first Blu-ray hybrid recorders, its DMR-BW200 and DMR-BR100. They're called hybrid because they combine hard drive recording with Blu-ray single- and dual-layer disc recording capabilities (DVD recording, too, if that matters any more). The higher-end BW200 packs a 500GB hard drive, two digital tuners and one analog tuner. The lower-end BR100 has a 200GB hard drive and a single digital/analog tuner.
The 1080p recorders can also do some neat tricks, such as high-speed dubbing of a hard disk recording onto Blu-ray disc, and the fancier BW200 has a FireWire port for hooking up a digital video camera and Ethernet for program guides and other Internet functionality. Both shipping November 15 in Japan, the DMR-BW200 will be $2550 while the DMR-BR100 will cost $2050. Ouch.