Blu-Ray players and 400Gb available from Pioneer from next year

Japanese consumer electronics company Pioneer will enter the Blu-Ray market next year and has developed the hi-def media discs to hold up to 400Gb of content

Pioneer is developing Blu-ray recorders with help from Sharp, Pioneer's top shareholder with a 14 per cent stake. Sharp already offers Blu-ray recorders.

Pioneer plans to start selling Blu-ray recorders in Japan before the year-end shopping season, shortly followed by launches overseas.

The selling price and unit sales target have yet to be set, a Pioneer spokesman said.

Blu-ray recorder demand in Japan is likely to jump 18 fold to 3.6 million units by 2012, according to Fuji Chimera Research Institute.

Japan was at the heart of an optical-disc format war that pitted Blu-ray discs championed by Sony Corp against Toshiba Corp's HD-DVD discs, until movie studios lined up behind Blu-ray and its rival format bit the dust in February.

Additionally, Pioneer is developing discs with a capacity of 400Gb by using 16 layers to hold all the information at 25Gb per stack, compared to the dual layer 50GB discs commonly available.

Pioneer claims to have solved the issue of interference by borrowing techniques from the DVD manufacturing process.

Additionally, Pioneers claims that the discs will be playable in current Blu-Ray players and recorders. "Since the optical specifications of the objective lens… are the same as those for the existing BD discs, it is possible to maintain compatibility between the new 16-layer optical disc and the BD discs," claimed Pioneer in a statement.

Pioneer will be releasing further information on the technology at an industry conference on 13 July.

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