Matsushita to ship DVD player in November

Matsushita is in the running to be first to market with DVD devices.

Consumer electronics giant Matsushita in coming months will roll out its first products based on the digital video disk (DVD) standard, including a home video player, a television and DVD ROM for PCs, the company has announced. The player will ship first in two versions in Japan on November 1, and it will make its US debut by year's end, a spokeswoman says. The 28in television, which has a built-in DVD movie player, will be available in mid-November only in Japan.

The higher-end player, to be priced at US$900, weighs 3.5kg and features a remote control with a joy stick for handling functions such as stop and play. A cheaper version features a conventional remote control. The players support both DVD disks, which can hold four hours of video, and today's standard video and music CDs.

The units support MPEG-2 video compression and Dolby AC-3 Digital 5.1 sound. Details of the DVD ROM unit have not been released, but Matsushita is planning by year's end to ship the unit under its Panasonic brand name and is also negotiating with potential OEM customers, she says.

Matsushita is in the running to be first to market with DVD devices. Toshiba plans to ship a desktop PC with DVD ROM in November, while Sony says it will release a DVD player early next year. (See Sony to ship in spring)

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