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Monday, June 16, 2003
Toshiba to launch new multi-drive DVD model

Toshiba Corp said it will launch a new multi-drive DVD model that complies with the DVD-RAM, DVD-RW and DVD-R formats in the domestic market in mid-July.

Toshiba, as well as such firms as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd, has supported the RAM format. The new models aim to attract customers who are switching from RW-format recorders.

The new RD-XS31 model, equipped with an 80GB hard-disk drive, will likely be sold at stores for about 110,000 yen. The company plans to produce 30,000 units per month. Starting in September, it plans to market hard-disk-less models that record only onto DVD disks in Japan, the United State and Europe.

Toshiba developed in-house a DVD drive device compatible with both the RAM and RW formats. The model is equipped with an upgraded optical pickup lens, which reads information from the disk, and has software that reads and writes data in both formats.

In fiscal 2002, Toshiba sold 250,000 DVD recorders. Plans call for sales of slightly less than 1 million units in fiscal 2003 and 2.5 million units in fiscal 2004.

While the RAM format has advanced recording capabilities, the recorded disks generally cannot be viewed on playback-only machines. On the other hand, the RW format allows for recorded disks to be played back on most DVD players, but the number of times they can be rewritten is limited.

In the Japanese market, the RAM format has about a 70% share, with the RW format holding around 30%.

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