Sony unveils Blu-ray Disc recorders, PCs

Sony will launch in Japan in December a pair of Blu-ray Disc video recorders.

Sony will launch a pair of Blu-ray Disc video recorders in Japan this December, the company said Tuesday.

The machines both feature hard-disk drives for day-to-day recording and a Blu-ray Disc drive for longer term storage. The BDZ-V9 has a 500G-byte drive and the BDZ-V7 has a 250G-byte drive. There are two digital tuners in each recorder so that two high-definition programs can be recorded simultaneously.

Both were unveiled during a news conference at the Ceatec show, which opened Tuesday and runs until Saturday at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, east of Tokyo.

The recorders are designed to appeal to videophiles with demands for high specifications, including Linear PCM audio and 1080p (1,080 lines progressive scanning) output, which is the highest of several image levels judged to be high-definition. The recorders can also be connected to Sony's recently launched high-definition camcorders by a Firewire connection and can playback the AVCHD-format discs used in the cameras.

The higher capacity BDZ-V9 will be launched on Dec. 8 and the BDZ-V7 will follow about a week later on Dec. 16. They will cost YEN 300,000 and YEN 250,000 (AUD$3,407 and AUD$2,839) respectively.

The machines fill an important gap in Sony's high-definition strategy, which by now has HD-capable products in several parts of the consumer video market including televisions and video camcorders. These will be joined in November by the PlayStation 3 game console and then in December by the two new recorders announced Tuesday.

Launching the recorders internationally is possible but nothing has been decided as of yet, Sony said.

Sony also announced the addition of Blu-ray Disc to more PCs in its Vaio line. The Vaio Type-R master is an Intel Core 2 Duo-based machine loaded with high-definition editing and authoring software. It will be available from Oct. 28 at prices between YEN 230,000 and YEN 550,000 depending on system configuration. A Blu-ray Disc drive will also be offered as a build-to-order option with Sony's Type-L computer.

With the new computers, Blu-ray Disc is now available in four of Sony's Vaio product lines.

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Martyn Williams

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