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Apex Enters Digital Camera Biz

The company also added DVR capability and TV Guide EPG to its delayed ApeXtreme DVD player/game console, an industry-first device that uses embedded Windows XP to play PC games on a TV. It will be Apex’s first DVR-equipped product.

Shipments of the $499-suggested ApeXtreme, equipped with 40GB HDD, were pushed back to August from April because “it took more work than we expected,” said president Steve Brothers. “PC gaming is very demanding.”

In entering the PMP market, Apex will join only two other players, RCA and Archos, although more companies are expected to join later this year. Apex’s battery-powered MP-2000, due in July at an everyday $399 price tag, can be used to play video and music transferred from a PC or copied directly from a TV, DVR, VCR, DVD player or stereo system. The device stores audio and video on a 1.8-inch 20GB HDD. Digital still images and video can be viewed on its 3.5-inch 320 by 260 color LCD screen. Audio can be heard through stereo headphones or the device’s single mono speaker.

People can use the device to view recorded video when they’re on the road, but they can also plug it into a TV to display video or still images on a friend’s TV. The device won’t play Macrovision-protected prerecorded video, but it is upgradable to support DRMs that authorized movie-download sites it might support in the future, Brothers said.

The 8.5-ounce device decodes audio in the MP3, WAV, unprotected-WMA and PCM formats; decodes video in the MPEG-4, DivX, motion JPEG and WMV9 formats; and displays JPEG, GIF, TIFF, and BMP digital-still images. Files can be transferred from a PC via USB connection. To copy directly from the analog outputs of home electronics products, the device features built-in MP3 audio and MPEG-4 video encoders.

Other features include the ability to encode and store 640 by 480 video for playback on connected TVs. The 20GB HDD stores up to 40 hours of MPEG-4 video at 640 by 480 and 80 hours of WMV at 640 by 480. The consumer-removable 2200-milliamp lithium-ion battery delivers 12 hours of music playing time or four hours of video. The device also doubles as a voice recorder and portable data-storage drive.

Read more at TWICE

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