Sanyo shows prototype HD-DVD player

Sanyo Electric unveiled a prototype player supporting the next-generation optical disc format HD-DVD at the Ceatec 2004 show as it got under way in Japan on Tuesday.

The company's HD-DVD player was on show alongside a prototype from Toshiba, which has been seen at other events. No additional details of either machine were available, although the presence of a Sanyo player at the show points toward a start to HD-DVD development at Sanyo before the company announced its support for the format on Aug. 31.

HD-DVD discs

HD-DVD was developed under the auspices of the DVD Forum and draws heavily on technology from both Toshiba and NEC. Major Japanese optical disc-maker Memory-Tech has also been involved in disc production technology. The format uses a blue laser to enable storage of several times more data than a conventional DVD on an equivalent size disc. A group of other companies, led by Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial, has proposed and developed a rival format called Blu-ray Disc.

The new Sanyo player and Toshiba prototype were on show in a joint HD-DVD promotion booth that also had on display several sample discs made by a number of companies, including Memory-Tech, Ritek, Prodisc Technology, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media, Hitachi Maxell, Imation, Cinram International and Advanced Media.

The discs included single-sided and double-sided ROM discs, or 15G-byte and 30G-byte capacity, and single-layer HD-DVD-R discs of 20G-byte capacity. All of the discs were genuine samples, as opposed to other optical discs with HD-DVD labels, and all the companies were preparing for mass production, said a spokeswoman for Toshiba.

Toshiba and NEC have promised to commercialize HD-DVD during 2005. The first commercial Blu-ray Disc machines are already on the market in Japan, although sales have been limited by a high price tag and an inability to play back prerecorded content.

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