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Wed, Aug 30, 2006 - Page 10 News List

Sony to give rival six-month head start on HD DVD

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Sony Corp, whose Blu-ray high-definition DVD competes with Toshiba Corp's format, said it plans to release a player in Japan after October, giving Toshiba at least a six-month head start.

The Japanese player, which can also record, will be released after a planned US model in October, Kiyoshi Nishitani, the executive in charge of Sony's Blu-ray business, said at a news conference in Tokyo today. Toshiba started sales of its HD DVD player in March.

"We hope to start selling a recorder player in Japan within this year," Nishitani said.

About 75 movie titles in Blu-ray will be released in "autumn," the company said.

Sony and Toshiba are seeking support from movie studios and computer companies for their high-definition DVD formats that offer better picture quality and greater recording capacity. Sony, which delayed the introduction of its PlayStation 3 game console until November because of Blu-ray, is battling Toshiba to set the standard format for home entertainment, as it did with Betamax against Video Home System tapes during the 1980s.

Blu-ray titles coming out in Japan this year include Time Warner Inc's Swordfish, Full Metal Jacket and Syriana, and Walt Disney Co's Pirates of The Caribbean and Pearl Harbor. Sony's movie studio will release The Da Vinci Code at a later date.

Toshiba said between 100 and 150 HD DVD titles will be available in Japan and Europe by December, and 150 to 200 movies in the US The Blu-ray disc can store at least five times more than the 4.7 gigabyte standard DVD, and Toshiba's HD DVD can contain at least three times more content.

The Blu-ray format is supported by Samsung Electronics Co, Apple Computer Inc and Dell Inc. Toshiba's main backers for HD DVD include NEC Corp, Intel Corp and Microsoft Corp.

Toshiba Players Global shipments of high-definition DVD players and recorders are expected to reach 800,000 units this year, and will rise almost eightfold to 6.2 million next year, according to market researcher ISuppli Corp. Standard DVD player shipments are projected to gain 4.4 percent to 162.3 million units, it said.

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