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Friday, December 08, 2006
Sony Blu-ray Recorder Hit Shops in Japan

Less than a month after the troubled launch of its PlayStation 3, Sony has rolled out its new high definition DVD recorder in Japan as it struggles to restore its tarnished reputation.

Sony's BDZ-V9 Blu-ray machine went on sale here Friday in time for the crucial year-end holiday shopping season with a price tag of about 300,000 yen (2,600 dollars).

"We heard from electronics appliance stores that customers showed great interest in our new products during our demonstration campaign," said Sony spokesman Daichi Yamafuji Friday.

The device is equipped with a 500GB hard disk drive and support recording of digital broadcastings to the HDD and single-layer BD-R/RE and of course, play-back of BD video. It also offers reproduction of AVCHD discs, DVD±R/RW/RAM and audio CDs. In addition, they can write on DVD-R/RW and DVD+R DL media.

According to Sony, the recorder can simultaneously record two programs aired through these digital broadcasts in the HDTV format. This function is likely to attract consumers.

The BDZ-V9 features "Odekake/Okaeri Tenso (before-going-out/after-coming-home transmission)" capability, which is used in combination with the PSP. This capability prevents image quality from degrading, which was an issue related to the company's Track Move function (transmission of copy once programs between the HDD and other media), while achieving copy protection equivalent to Track Move function featured with Sony's existing DVD recorders.

The recorder is also able to output linear PCM 2/6/8ch 48bit/96kHz as well as 2ch 192kHz audio. An i.LINK interface can be used in order to connect the devices with an HDV and DV camera. In addition, the BDZ-V9 is able to output and upscale video at 1080p through an HDMI interface.

Sony expects that the new device will attract the Japanese consumers, especially during the holiday season. However, many analysts remain skeptical and believe that Sony's Blu-Ray products may not reach significant sales.

US-based research firm Cymfony studied more than 17,000 posts from blogs, discussion boards and other social media sites and found that positive comments about HD DVD were 46 percent higher than those about Blu-ray.

Analysts also note that with a high price putting out of the reach of most households and Sony only set to produce 10,000 units per month, sales of the new machine will have a limited impact on Sony's overall results.

Even so, the Blu-ray player is at the root of the electronic's giant's problems with the PlayStation 3, which Sony was forced to delay because of shortages of parts for the DVD component, which is installed in every PS3.

Sony has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the PS3 and its success is considered vital to the iconic company's future following a series of setbacks, including recalls of millions of faulty computer batteries.

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