NEW YORK (Kyodo) Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said Tuesday it will market its Blu-ray Disc player this September in the United States for less than $1,500.

The company also aims to debut new large-screen plasma TVs at about the same time in hopes of jump-starting sales of the new DVD players.

A group of companies, including Matsushita and Sony Corp., is promoting the new DVD format in direct competition with Toshiba Corp., NEC Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co., which are trying to establish their HD DVD format as the industry standard for next-generation DVD technology.

Sony is due to release its Blu-ray machine this July, while Toshiba is scheduled to launch its HD DVD player by mid-April.

Blu-ray Disk is said to be technologically superior but more costly compared with HD DVD.

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