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New Blu-ray disc recorders showed off in Japan

Four new Blu-ray disc recorders soon will be offered for sale by Sony Corp., the company said.

Sony's Blu-ray is competing against HD DVD, backed by Toshiba Corp. The battle has kept confused global consumers from rushing to buy new gadgets until they determine which format will emerge the winner.

Sony's models, shown Wednesday, will hit Japanese stores Nov. 8, priced between 140,000 yen (US$1,229; EUR889) and 200,000 yen (US$1,756; EUR1,270). Sony plans to initially produce 40,000 recorders a month for Japan, the Tokyo-based company said.

Sony already sells Blu-ray disc players in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. But there are no overseas sales plans for Blu-ray disc recorders so far, according to the manufacturer of Walkman players and PlayStation 3 game consoles.

Next-generation DVDs store large amounts of data for high-definition images and video.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which makes Panasonic brand products, and Sharp Corp. support the Blu-ray disc standard.

The group pushing HD DVD includes Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp. Both sides are claiming victory.

Earlier this year, the Blu-ray group was dealt a blow when Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures and Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc. said they will exclusively use the HD DVD format. They had previously released works in both formats.

Kiyoshi Shikano, a corporate senior vice president at Sony, played down possible damage from the switch.

"With all the support Blu-ray enjoys among Hollywood, PC makers and consumer electronic makers, Paramount's decision won't really affect Blu-ray," he said.

Blu-ray discs can hold more data - 50 gigabytes compared with HD DVD's 30 GB - but the technology requires new manufacturing techniques and factories, which mean higher costs.

Sony Pictures, News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox, The Walt Disney Co. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are releasing films only in Blu-ray. Universal, owned by General Electric Co., backs HD DVD exclusively.

Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. remains the only major studio releasing movies in both formats.

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