According to Reuters, Sony has announced plans to start sales of the world's first DVD recorder that uses a violet laser light source. The recorder will use the format developed by the Blu-Ray consortium, of which Sony is a founder member.
Last December, Sony formed an alliance with Nichia to develop nitride-based semiconductor lasers for the Blu-ray disc recording format, with both companies planning to commence mass production by spring 2003.
Sony's new machine will be available in Japan from mid-April, priced at 450,000 yen (about $3800). Conventional DVD recorders using red lasers are priced at 50,000-70,000 yen ($420-590).
The recorder can pack a two-hour high-definition TV program onto a single Blu-Ray disc. The discs hold up to 23 gigabytes of data and will be priced at 3500 yen ($30) each.
With a small but growing number of households in Japan, the United States and elsewhere now receiving high-definition TV from digital satellite broadcasts, Sony is clearly aiming to gain a head start in this market.
"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.
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.
A second industry group led by Toshiba is promoting an alternative to the Blu-Ray format, which it says will be less expensive and more compatible with existing recorders. Toshiba hopes to have a violet-laser recorder on the market in about one year's time.