Blu-ray Stirs to Life

Prototype Sony Blu-ray player

Originally, a big selling point for Blu-ray was that it would arrive as a complete system - that is, the first units would both record and play high-definition DVDs. Nervous Hollywood studios seem to have put the kibosh on that, at least for the moment, as no such combo devices were announced as standalone models.

In fact, the only firm introduction of any sort was from Pioneer, which will have the $1,800 BDP-HD1 for spring delivery as part of its Elite series. Pioneer did announce a Blu-ray burner for computers, the $995 BDR-101A, to arrive in first quarter of this year. It will capable of recording single-layer 25-gigabyte discs at 2X normal speed or DVD-R at 8X normal speed.

Other Blu-ray backers such as LG, Panasonic, and Sony alluded to player-only introductions this summer. Philips brought out a Buena Vista (Disney) executive to tout the merits of Blu-ray from the studio point of view, and Sony promised 20 Blu-ray titles from its studios this spring.

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