Blu-ray DVD recorder sales rising fast in Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sales of high definition Blu-ray DVD recorders are zooming up in Japan as consumers take to the new generation of home movie entertainment after the end of a bitter format war.

Last month the more expensive Blu-ray recorders topped the old generation recorders in the value of sales for the first time, with around a third of machines sold now carrying the new format, research firm BCN Ltd said in a statement.

“Full high-definition picture quality has become a main stream for big-screen TVs, and camcorders with higher picture quality are getting popular, too,” said BCN chief analyst Shigehiro Tanaka.

“From the input of data to output, high definition is taking root in Japan.”

Japan was at the heart of the format war, which pitted the Blu-ray discs championed by Sony Corp 6758.T against Toshiba Corp's 6502.T HD-DVD discs.

Consumers held back waiting to see who would win the rerun of the 1970s battle between Betamax and VHS video tapes, until movie studios lined up behind Blu-ray and its rival bit the dust in February.

The April sales for Blu-ray in Japan were almost three times the 12.4 percent share for both formats in January, before HD-DVD’s demise, BCN’s survey figures showed.

Sales of the Blu-ray are expected to rapidly expand in coming months as makers such as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd 6752.T are likely to cut down prices in a lead-up to the Beijing Olympics, BCN said.

Reporting by Taiga Uranaka and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Rodney Joyce