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Friday, July 16, 2004
Sony to Make Prototype Blu-Ray DVDs for Hollywood Studios

Sony Corp will by fall build lines in the United States to produce next-generation Blu-ray Disc DVDs on a trial basis to refine its manufacturing process and DVD specifications by reflecting the wishes of major film studios there, potentially the major customers for the new discs.

The Japanese firm will solicit views and wishes of major US movie studios to reflect them in its final product. If these studios adopt its DVDs as the medium for recording their movies, Sony believes that this will give a major boost to its effort to have the Blu-ray format adopted as the de facto industry standard.

Sony will install at a DVD production factory in the state of Indiana a line for manufacturing single-layer 25GB discs and another for producing double-layer 50GB discs. The 50GB discs will have a storage capacity more than 10 times that of currently available DVDs. In other words, they will be able to record four and a half hours of high-definition television programming, or more than 30 two-hour movies aired on regular broadcasts.

The electronics giant already makes the new DVDs on a trial basis at a Shizuoka Prefecture plant. It takes about five seconds to produce one disc there, but the new lines in the Indiana plant will cut the time to just four seconds. This would raise monthly output capacity to 1 million units in uninterrupted operation, enabling the firm to produce the Blue-ray discs at a cost less than 10% higher than that required to produce existing DVDs.

Sony and 12 other firms, including Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd, are competing with Toshiba Corp and NEC Corp, which have developed the HD-DVD format, to have their version adopted as an industry standard.

Sony will ship samples to film studios and solicit their opinions on DVD materials and anti-piracy technology.

From NEAsia Online

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