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Toshiba next-gen recorder slated for year's end

As part of digital shift, electronics maker is planning device that will record HD DVDs, DVDs and CDs.

LAS VEGAS--Toshiba executives said they will release a next-generation DVD recorder by year's end as part of their new product plans.

Toshiba will release an HD DVD, DVD, CD recorder by the fourth quarter of this year for about $1,000, executives said Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. HD DVD is an emerging blue laser DVD technology that will enable data to be stored onto discs with capacities of up to 30GB. The discs will also include interactive and gaming features, according to the company.

Industry groups are supporting different formats, Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD, to replace DVD as an industry standard. Toshiba, NEC and Sanyo are among those promoting HD DVD and Sony, Hewlett-Packard and Dell are supporting Blu-ray.

"HD DVD has not won yet, but I'm 100 percent confident that HD DVD is better than Blu-ray," said Yoshihide Fujii, chief executive of Toshiba Digital Media Network Company.

Analysts had assumed Blu-ray had the momentum in the manufacturing and entertainment industries because of the support of PC makers Dell and HP, which were influential in the progress of the DVD+RW adoption. Recently, however, the HD DVD format gained crucial industry support from several studios, including Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema.

The Blu-ray camp also recently got support from Disney, as well as from Sony's entertainment properties.

Toshiba executives also announced Wednesday that TVs based on Toshiba's SED (surface-conduction electron emitter display) technology would be available by the first quarter of next year.

The electronics maker is joining Royal Philips Electronics, LG Electronics and Samsung in releasing slim-model cathode ray tube-based televisions. The slim models will be 30 percent thinner than CRT sets currently on the market.

The electronics maker will also be coming out with hard drive-based camcorders with storage capacities of 30GB or 60GB, as well as units based on Toshiba's 0.85-inch hard drives with 4GB and 6GB capacities this year.