By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Sony is stepping up the pace in the battle with HDDVD and has announced that it will launch four new Blu-ray recorders in Japan in November that also feature built-in hard disk drives.

While the rollout of DVD recorders occurred only after relatively widespread adoption of DVD players, Sony is pushing forward with the introduction of Blu-ray recorders at prices only slightly higher than some existing Blu-ray players on the market.

According to international press reports, prices for the new recorders will range from around 140,000 yen ($AU1,460) to 200,000 yen ($AU2,085) in the Japanese market when they arrive on 8 November.

All models in the range will have built-in HDDs ranging from 250GG to 500GB in the top-end recorder for up to 166 hours of HD video storage inside the unit.

According to Sony, the new recorders will also use an HD encoding compression based on the mpeg4-AVC, allowing up to 16 hours of HD recording on a 50GB BD-R disc.

The Blu-ray recorders will also be backwards compatible with DVD for playback and recording.

Sony Australia representatives were not available today to confirm the availability or pricing of the players in Australia.