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Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Sony unveils Blu-ray Disc optical disk recorder-player

Sony Corp said Monday it will start marketing on April 10 an ultra-large-memory Blu-ray Disc video recorder-player combining optical disk and blue laser technologies. The Blu-ray Disc, an optical disk-based video recording technology, provides 23 gigabyte storage memory capacity — five times that of DVD.

Compared with CD or DVD systems based on red lasers, the Blu-ray uses blue lasers that, because of their shorter wavelength, require much less space to store each bit of information.

Sony is the world's first manufacturer to release a recorder-player based on the Blu-ray Disc format.

The Sony recorder-player, codenamed "BDZ-S77," will sell for 450,000 yen. It comes with a BS digital decoder for receiving digital video signals beamed from broadcasting satellites.

The Blu-ray Disc technology provides a consumer format for recording of high-definition digital television and each disk can hold around two hours of such content.

In the event that the technology is used to record conventional TV programs beamed from terrestrial TV broadcasting stations, each disk can hold up to 12 hours of such content. The Sony recorder-player also can play back DVD and CD.

In tandem with the April release of the recorder-player, Sony will put on the market Blu-ray recording disks that will carry a retail price of 3,500 yen per disk.

The new format was devised by an alliance of nine giant makers, including Sony, Pioneer Corp, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, Sharp Corp, LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Thomson Multimedia and Koninklijke Philips Electronics.

The rival camp of Toshiba Corp and NEC Corp has proposed a different set of specifications for blue laser-based electronics equipment.

Sony is keen on wielding strong influence in the world's market by releasing the new player-recorder preemptively.

But some other manufacturers say they will sit on the fence for the time being to examine the reactions of global consumers to a series of products from the two rival camps before committing their developmental resources to a specific camp.

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