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Friday, September 03, 2004
Sanyo Emerges as Third HD-DVD Standards Promoter, Players Set for Fall of 2005

Sanyo Electric Co, Ltd announced a plan to release players that support the High Definition (HD) DVD standards in the fall of 2005.

The company has become the third promoter of HD-DVD standards following Toshiba Corp and NEC Corp, and Sanyo is reportedly considering a move to develop HD DVD recorders.

The HD DVD specification is one of those developed for the next generation of optical discs. While the Blu-ray Disc specifications are supported by 13 Japanese and overseas companies, there is cause for concern about dissemination of the HD DVD because only a few manufacturers plan to supply related equipment.

"This involvement of Sanyo Electric, an AV equipment maker, on our side should make a substantial difference in this specifications war, since we had Toshiba as one such maker," said an official at NEC. "This momentum should enable us to reach concerned people in Hollywood. Leveraging Sanyo Electric's entry, we will strive to formulate agreements with a wider range of businesses."

Sanyo Electric accounts for a 30% to 40% share of the global market for optical heads. Already, the company has started sample shipments of purple-blue lasers, regarded as a vital part of next-generation optical equipment, with optical power (at a pulse oscillation) of 100mW. It aims at achieving a higher earnings rate in its HD DVD player/recorder business to be further boosted based on its dominance in these critical components.

Since about a year ago, it appears that Sanyo has been discussing whether it should enter the business of HD DVD players and recorders. And now the company is engaged in formulating specifications of the write-once-read-many type of media, although it may be more impressive that it joined the promotion of HD DVD products designed for Hollywood use in May 2004.

What led the company to a final decision on marketing HD DVD players is its confidence in easily making the optical head compatible with those for DVDs or CDs.

"We found the HD DVD standard most suitable for our development of equipment in which we can make the best use of software assets consumers have accumulated for a long period of time," a Sanyo official said.

It is expected that players to be released in the fall of 2005 will feature a single optical head that the company has developed to correspond to all three standards of HD DVD, DVD, and CD.

Sanyo also is a maker of optical heads for Blu-ray disc products and plans to continue providing the optical heads as well as purple-blue lasers for the Blu-ray Disc camp.

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