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Matsushita to release Blu-ray Disc drive June 10
[April 21, 2006]

Matsushita to release Blu-ray Disc drive June 10

(Kyodo News International (Tokyo) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Apr. 21--OSAKA -- Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said Friday it will release on June 10 a personal computer memory disk drive compatible with the specifications of the "Blu-ray Disc," a next-generation ultra-large storage capacity DVD.

The drive -- 14.6 centimeters wide, 4.1 cm high and 19 cm long -- is designed to be fitted into a standard-sized CD drive slot on the core tower portion of a desktop computer, according to the key backer of the Blu-ray specifications, pushed by Sony Corp.

The drive is expected to carry a retail price of around 100,000 yen when it hits store shelves in June, Matsushita officials said.

The memory capacity of a 50-gigabyte version of a Blu-ray disk provides a capacity nearly 10 times that of a 4.7-gigabyte DVD. The new drive is compatible with both the 50-gigabyte and 25-gigabyte Blu-ray disks.

The new drive can store and play back such data as still and moving images broadcast via the Internet as well as voice. In addition, the drive can play back most types of existing DVD and CDs.

Matsushita will start shipping Blu-ray disks for sale at electronics shops as well as Blu-ray disk drives to be pre-installed by various PC makers into their computers later this month, it said.

A camp of backers of the Blu-ray Disc specifications has been facing off against a rival Toshiba Corp.-led alliance pushing their "HD DVD" specifications, seeking the adoption of their specifications as the global standard.

Toshiba is planning to release notebook PCs fitted with a drive capable of playing back the HD DVD.

The two camps' releases of new PCs carrying the next-generation DVD playback capabilities are expected to plunge makers into a more intense battle to woo consumers in the area of PC themselves, on top of that of the drive for the next-generation DVDs, industry officials said.

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