First Blue-Laser DVD Recorder Unveiled
Date 4-Mar-2003 0:24:58
Topic: Hardware News
|Sony says it will start sales next month of the world's first DVD recorder that uses blue laser light and can pack a two-hour high-definition TV programme onto a single disc.|
It won't be cheap, with a retail list price of 450,000 yen (£2,423), while low-end DVD recorders using conventional red lasers go for as little as 50,000-70,000 yen.
But with digital satellite broadcasts in Japan, the US and elsewhere now bringing high-definition TV to a small but growing number of households, Sony wants to get an early start in what could become a hot product.
"The market has already been established, and although it's still looking for direction, there will be a growing number of users who want high-definition recording," said Sony spokeswoman Shoko Yanagisawa.
The recorder, which includes a built-in broadcast satellite tuner, will hit store shelves in Japan on 10 April. No date has been set yet for an overseas roll-out, she said.
The machine will give Sony, the world's largest consumer electronics maker, a head start over its partners in the Blu-ray consortium, a nine-member group of industry heavyweights that unveiled a common format for blue laser DVDs a year ago.
Blue light, with a shorter wavelength than red, can read and store data at much higher densities needed for high-definition recordings.
Blu-ray discs, which Sony will also start selling on 10 April, hold up to 23 gigabytes of data, or nearly five times as much as existing DVDs and enough for two hours of digital satellite high-definition programming.
At 3,500 yen each, Blu-ray discs will also cost several times more than conventional discs.
Other members of the Blu-ray consortium include Matsushita, which makes Panasonic products, South Korea's Samsung and Dutch manufacturer Philips.
Toshiba, a pioneer in DVD technology, has weighed in with a competing blue-laser format it says will be less expensive and more compatible with existing recorders, although it would only store 15-20 gigabytes of data per disc.
A fragmentation of recording formats for existing red laser products has been blamed for hindering a take-off in DVD recorder sales, although the market has begun growing rapidly as the machines get cheaper.
Sony's Blu-ray machine will be able to play red-laser discs using the DVD-R and DVD-RW formats, but not those using the DVD-RAM or DVD+RW formats.
Toshiba is hoping to have its first blue-laser DVD recorder on the market in another year or so, a spokesman said, although an industry body is still hammering out technical details for the format.