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NEW YORK (Kyodo) Sony Electronics Inc. said Thursday it will put its first Blu-ray Disc players on sale in North America in July for $1,000 each.

Blu-ray is a high-capacity optical disc format capable of storing movies, games, photos and other digital content.

The Blu-ray format is locked in a battle with the High-Definition DVD format to become the technological standard for next-generation DVDs.

Earlier this month, Toshiba Corp. introduced two HD DVD players in the North American market.

Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. are leading a group of companies that is pushing Blu-ray technology. Toshiba, NEC Corp. and others are behind the HD DVD format.

Competition between the two formats is expected to intensify in Japan and elsewhere for movies and other content because the two groups failed to introduce a common standard.

Sony Electronics has yet to announce when its Blu-ray Disc player, the BDP-S1, will go on sale in Japan.

The cheaper of the two Toshiba models is priced at $499.99, less than half the price of the Sony player.

Although the launch of Sony’s new PlayStation 3 video game console has been delayed by about six months until early November, it says it will release the Blu-ray Disc player as planned.

Sony also said Thursday desktop and notebook computers with Blu-ray Disc drives will hit stores in North America early this summer. The desktop model is priced at $2,300, while the price of the notebook computers has not been announced.

“We’re in a unique position to be unveiling a full line of HD products that capitalize on Blu-ray Disc’s technological advantages,” said Hideki Komiyama, president and COO of Sony Electronics in a statement. “Blu-ray Disc will set the bar for the high-definition lifestyle that consumers have been anticipating.”

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