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Sony Enters CD-Recorder Market

LAS VEGAS -Although it is the most aggressive promoter of the recordable MiniDisc format in the United States, Sony unveiled its first CD-recorder during CES.

The dual-well dubbing deck with 4x dubbing speed ships in February at an everyday “go” price of $499. It was accompanied by a portable CD-R/RW burner/drive that doubles as a headphone CD player. Pricing wasn’t available.

The company called the two recording formats complementary.

As one of the last major CE companies to enter the CD-recorder market, Sony missed out on U.S. sales of component CD-recorders, estimated by Philips at 500,000 units in 2000. U.S. sales were up 60 percent last year, “without a big decline in pricing,” said Mike Mastroyiannis, Philips’ worldwide senior VP for mainstream audio.

Philips’ U.S. market share was 60 percent in 2000, Mastroyiannis said, and although the economy’s fourth-quarter slowdown caused industrywide sales to fall short of the company’s original 600,000-unit forecast, Philips nonetheless made its U.S. numbers.

In other audio introductions, Sony unveiled its first portable CDs and first car CD-receiver to deliver MP3 CD playback.

The company also showed its first car MD player capable of playing back MDs encoded in either of two MD Long Play (LP) modes. MD LP recorders use Sony’s ATRAC3 Internet-audio codec to deliver two-and-a-half hours and five hours of playback time, respectively, on players capable of playing back MD LP.