A contact across the pond (Thanks Michael!) has just sent me an advance xerox of the owners manual for the USA model 30000 due to arrive in stores this month.
The manual states explicitly that only D-VHS tapes can be used for digital recordings. This would be quite unfortunate if true as most of us have been happily archiving at ~ $1.75/hour on consumer S-VHS tapes.
The audio output supposedly supports Dolby Digital or converted two channel PCM, ie. not AAC (the Japanese compressed 5.1 equivalent).
We will have to see whether or not tapes recorded in Japan will play back properly on the US 30000.
Hopefully one of our members will report on the US 30000 shortly after release.
If Japanese BS tapes fail to play back correctly and/or digital recording is not possible on S-VHS tapes, then I believe our friend JinSung Kwon will continue to be filling our orders for the more desirable (and more affordable!) Japanese domestic model.
"Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor not an engineer."