Sony Corp, the world's second-largest maker of consumer electronics, will launch four Blu-ray disc recorders in Japan in November, stepping up competition with Toshiba Corp's HD DVD format.
The new models, capable of storing up to 16 hours of high-definition programs on a dual-layer, 50-gigabyte (GB) Blu-ray disc, will go on sale on Nov. 8.
Sony's previous models, which were introduced last year, were unable to record on a dual-layer disc.
The four models may also be sold in European markets, Katsumi Ihara, a Sony vice president in charge of consumer electronics, told reporters in Tokyo yesterday, without providing a timeframe.
They are expected to be sold at retailers for ?140,000 (US$1,228) to ?200,000, Tokyo-based Sony said.
The Blu-ray format is backed by Samsung Electronics Co and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. HD DVD, which is battling Blu-ray to become the next home entertainment standard, has support from Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp.
"We plan to make all our recorders in the domestic market Blu-ray compatible in future, allowing consumers to record high-definition programs over a longer period," Ihara said.
He did not provide shipment targets for Sony's Blu-ray recorders.
A Blu-ray disc can store at least five times more content than a standard DVD, and HD DVD can contain at least three times more.
Sony shares fell 0.4 percent to ?5,370 at the close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The stock advanced 5.3 percent this year, compared with an 8.3 percent drop in the benchmark Nikkei.
Toshiba sells two HD DVD players and one recorder.
Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc said last month that they would exclusively release movies using the HD DVD format.
Walt Disney Co, News Corp's Fox film studio, and Sony are releasing titles only in Blu-ray, while Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros studio has movies in both formats.
Movie discs using Blu-ray outsold the rival format by two to one in the first half, estimates from Home Media Research showed.
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