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Blu-ray picks up speed as new DVD standard

The format war between Toshiba HD DVD and Sony Blu-ray is over, and sales for the new standard DVD are soaring despite its premium cost.

Sony is also taking on a 34% partnership with Sharp Electronics. The two international companies are expected to take on a prominent role in HDTV DVD production using Blu-ray and liquid crystal display panels.

Production for the new home entertainment systems next year at Sharp Electronics in Osaka, Japan. The company widely expects to initially develop over 72,000 panels a month.

However, other home entertainment systems will be available by this summer with prices ranging from $200 for an 800-watt surround-sound system to $500 for a 900-watt system that includes a CD-DVD player.

Sony has yet to claim public DVD victory after defeating Toshiba for the industry standard.

Sony also expects to boost its slow electronics unit while turning around a DVD industry where sales fell last year for the first time. While the Sony electronics division’s 10% revenue growth for the quarter ended Dec. 31, exceeded the parent company’s sales increase, the unit’s operating profit fell 7% on price decreases.

According to a trade group Digital Entertainment Group, U.S. consumers spent about $300 million on HD discs while total spending on DVDs, including rentals, fell 2.9% to $23.4 billion.

Analysts predict that Blu-ray high-definition DVD sales will triple to $1 billion since the DVD format war is over.