Blu-ray Disc movies to launch in Japan in November

Japan will soon become the second major market in the world to see the launch of Blu-ray Disc movies when titles go on sale in November.

Japan will soon become the world's second major market to see the launch of Blu-ray Disc movies.

A handful of movie and video content studios including Sony Pictures Entertainment (Japan), Paramount, Warner Bros and Buena Vista Home Entertainment will begin selling titles in Japan in November, they said at a joint news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Prototype Blu-ray Disc players from Sony, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), Pioneer and Hitachi were also on show at the event, but those companies didn't announce details, launch dates or prices for the machines. Previously, Sony Computer Entertainment said it will sell its PlayStation 3 games console in Japan from Nov. 11. The machine features a Blu-ray Disc drive suitable for playback of Blu-ray Disc movies.

The first titles are expected to go on sale a few days before the PlayStation 3 launch in early November.

Warner Bros Entertainment will put four titles on sale on Nov. 3, including Harrison Ford's "Firewall" and Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket." The discs will cost YEN 3,980 (US$34), although Warner said it will charge a higher price -- YEN 4,980 -- for titles that go on sale simultaneously with their DVD release.

In addition to movies, several music-related discs will also hit store shelves. Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) will begin selling six titles on Nov. 22 priced between YEN 5,040 and YEN 6,615, it said. A further five titles from the company will go on sale Jan. 24.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

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