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Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Pioneer to Launch Blu-ray Recorders This Year

Japanese Pioneer said on Tuesday it plans to launch Blu-ray DVD recorders by the end of the year, taking aim at a rapidly growing market after the end of the format battle.

The decision to enter the Japanese Blu-ray market anticipated burgeoning Japanese demand for products in the next-generation video format.

Pioneer plans to start selling Blu-ray recorders in Japan before the year-end shopping season, followed by overseas launches. The selling price and unit sales target have yet to be set.

Pioneer is developing Blu-ray recorders with help from Sharp, Pioneer's top shareholder with a 14 percent stake. Sharp already offers Blu-ray recorders. Last year, Pioneer announced a tie-up with Sharp under which Pioneer will buy Sharp's liquid crystal displays for flat TVs. Pioneer and Sharp have also been working together on Blu-ray disc recorders and players.

Blu-ray recorder demand in Japan is likely to jump 18 fold to 3.6 million units by 2012, according to Fuji Chimera Research Institute. Sony, Matsushita Electric Industrial and Sharp dominate Japan's Blu-ray sector, controlling a combined 98 percent market share, according to The Nikkei. Sony, Matsushita and Sharp are already offering Blu-ray recorders in Japan. Pioneer is currently selling high-end Blu-ray players worldwide.

Recorders have been always popular among Japanese consumers and price is the only criterion for the decision to replace an old DVD/HDD recorder with one that supports Blu-ray. The currently high retail prices of the Blu-ray recorders in Japan have allowed Blu-ray's rival Toshiba to continue the promotion of its DVD/HDD recorders.

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