Toshiba Bringing Out High-Priced HD DVD Recorder in Japan

Toshiba Corp. said Thursday it will start selling the world's first recorders for the HD DVD high-definition video disc next month.

The new recorder, the RD-A1, combines an HD DVD burner with a one-terabyte hard disk and can record and store up to 130 hours of high-definition broadcasts, Toshiba said in a statement.

HD DVD players are already available, but the RD-A1 will be the first model that can record disks.

The recorder hits stores in Japan on July 14 and will carry a suggested price tag of 398,000 yen ($3,470), Toshiba said.

The electronics maker hopes to sell 10,000 recorders by the end of 2006, according to company spokeswoman Junko Furuta.

Toshiba hasn't yet decided when it will launch the product overseas, Furuta said.

The move intensifies competition with the HD DVD format's rival camp, led by Sony Corp. (SNE), which will sell players based on a competing standard, Blu-ray Disc.

Sony has been selling Blu-ray recorders since 2003 in Japan, but prices have been high and uptake low.

Both HD DVD and Blu-ray can deliver dazzling high-definition video and can store much more data than today's DVDs, but are incompatible.

Toshiba launched HD DVD players in Japan in March, and in the United States in April.

Sony plans to begin selling personal computers equipped with Blu-ray drives later this month.