Matsushita to launch new Blu-ray recorders


CHIBA, Japan -- Panasonic maker Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd. said it would launch new Blu-ray optical disc recorders in November that allow more hours of full high-definition recording on a single disc than any others available.

Matsushita, along with Sony Corp., promotes the Blu-ray technology, which competes with the HD DVD format, backed by Toshiba Corp. and Microsoft Corp.

Osaka-based Matsushita, the world's largest consumer electronics maker, also said it plans to offer the world's first DVD recorders that can store full high-definition programs on conventional DVD discs next month.

Full high-definition programs come with a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels.

Matsushita's new Blu-ray recorders, which are able to record up to 18 hours of full HD programs on a dual-layer disc, will go on sale on November 1 in Japan.

A model equipped with a one-terabyte hard disk drive is expected to sell for $2,600, Matsushita said.

The one-terabyte hard drive can store up to 381 hours of full HD programs.

Matsushita, the world's largest maker of plasma TVs, took the wraps off the new Blu-ray and DVD recorders at the CEATEC Japan 2007 electronics industry trade show on Tuesday.

The company said it will start selling three models of new DVD recorders capable of recording full HD programs on conventional DVD discs on Nov. 1.

Video rental chain Blockbuster Inc., the largest U.S. provider of home movie entertainment, came out in favor of the Blu-ray format in June.

But Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. signed exclusivity deals in August to distribute their next-generation discs on Toshiba's HD DVD format for the next 18 months, a move that evened a contest where the Blu-ray camp appeared to be pulling ahead.