More flesh has been added to Toshiba’s plans to bring out a Blu-ray player – it is likely to be called the BD-18 and could be available as soon as the year end.

The company, which backed the HD DVD high-definition format that eventually lost to Sony’s prevailing Blu-ray, had stubbornly maintained it would not bring out a Blu-ray player and instead focused on its XDE DVD-upscaling technology.

Then it emerged last month at its annual shareholder meeting in Tokyo that Toshiba had finally accepted it could no longer ignore the opportunities Blu-ray products offer.

Now the Japanese electronics giant is planning a Blu-ray player, for its home market initially, according to the Japanese paper Yomiuri.
A Blu-ray recorder is also being considered.

A rumored USD $1B financial hole caused by the HD DVD failure appears to be a big motivation for Toshiba’s shift in stance to Blu-ray.

The development comes as the Consumer Electronics Association publishes a reports pointing to burgeoning shipments of Blu-ray disc players in the second half of the year.

These are expected to contribute to a 112 per cent increase in unit sales by the end of 2009.

The growth in unit shipments should take the total to nearly 6 million for the year, which despite falling prices will ensure revenues top USD $1 billion, an increase of 48 per cent over 2008.

Average Blu-ray player unit prices have falled closer to the USD $200 price point.

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