On the way from Sanyo into the Japanese domestic market is the Repoch – a new digital video recorder. But no, despite that slot in the front, we're not going back to tape.This is a hard-drive recorder – it's just that you can pull out the cassette-style drive and replace it with another.That means the Repoch, or IVR-S100M to give it its official model designation, not only gives unlimited recording capacity, but will also allow users to take their favourite HD TV shows to another player elsewhere in the home, or even round to friends for playback.This graphic – the Japanese are big on explanatory diagrams – shows how Sanyo sees buyers of the unit making use of the interchangeable hard drives: you could have different discs for different types of programming, or drop the drive into pocket or bag to cart it around.

The drives themselves conform to the iVDR format, launched by Hitachi back in 2002. Sanyo is only the second company to adopt the system, which uses 160GB removable discs., and says it's pushing to have the format adopted as an industry standard. It's already endorsed by Japan's Association of Radio Industries and Businesses. Maxell makes the iVDR drives in 160GB and 250GB, while Hitachi launched some TVs with the system built-in on the Japanese market a couple of years back. Maxell also offers the iDVR drives as a professional product for use with pro cameras.The Sanyo unit, which will sell in Japan for just over £400, is compact – about the size of an A5 sheet of paper at 23cm wide and 17cm deep – and just over 4cm tall. It can be used horizontally or vertically using a stand supplied.It has inputs for the Japanese BS digital TV system, and both HDMI and analogue video outputs, along with  a LAN port for internet connection.A 160MB iVDR disc will give around 20 hours of recording of the Japanese 17Mbps Hi-Vision TV, and the unit can output in 1080i, 720p and 480p resolutions.

And the chances of us seeing such a device here in the UK? Somewhere just south of nil, I suspect...