January 4, 2006

Sony Plans Blu-ray Disc Player in Summer 2006

LAS VEGAS -- Sony Corp. unveiled on Wednesday its North American products lineup for 2006, including a next-generation Blu-ray disc player, a hard disk drive based camcorder and a 46-inch model for its BRAVIA line of liquid crystal display televisions.

The products represent Sony's effort to regain traction in its key U.S. electronics market after losing ground to competitors like Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., while facing price declines on products such as LCD televisions and digital cameras.

Sony, the world's second-largest consumer electronics maker after Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., also unveiled an 82-inch, high-definition LCD television prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Samsung, Sony's partner in manufacturing large LCD panels, is also previewing an 82-inch LCD TV, which the South Korean electronics conglomerate claims is the largest in the world, at


Sony said it plans to start offering a Blu-ray DVD player this summer. The company leads a consortium of companies, which also includes Matsushita and Samsung, championing Blu-ray as the standard for next-generation DVDs.

Blu Ray is vying with a competing format called HD DVD, favored by Toshiba Corp. and NEC Corp.

Sony also said it plans to introduce a 46-inch version of its BRAVIA LCD television line, which industry analysts said was one of the best-selling flat panel TVs of the past holiday shopping season.

The company also plans to ship its first hard disk drive camcorder. The video camera will be equipped with a 30 gigabyte hard drive and incorporate crash protection technologies to prevent data loss.

Sony will offer greater insight into its future plans when its chairman and chief executive Howard Stringer delivers a keynote speech on Thursday.