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Even though Hitachi owns its storage division, so far it has not been very successful with its consumer DVD recorders that contain hard disk drives, lagging behind Matsushita, Sony and Toshiba. But the company expects its new lineup of DVD recorders to become a turning point for this business, as they feature certain unique capabilities and can store up to 1TB of data.

“We entered the market last year and have only been able to grab about 3% of the market. It’s been hard to earn a decent return on investment with such (low) volumes. But we plan on being profitable with these new models given the volumes and prices we expect to see from them,” Norio Ogimoto, general manager of Hitachi’s storage media group, told during a news conference in Japan, Reuters reports.

Hitachi’s Woo lineup of recorders can record two high-definition TV programs simultaneously, a capability not present on any other device of this kind. The company will offer Woo in 160GB, 250GB, 500GB and 1000GB (or 1TB) versions. Users will be able to choose whether to record their programs onto DVDs or HDD.

Depending on the version, Hitachi Woo will cost from ?130 thousand ($1180) to ?260 thousand ($2370) per unit.

Initially Hitachi Woo DVD/HDD recorders will be available in Japan and the manufacturer does not currently have any clear plans for marketing the devices in Europe or the U.S. Currently Japan accounts for more than half of global DVD recorder market, whereas other regions prefer different types of recorders, including set-top-boxes.

Matsushita was the top seller of DVD recorders in Japan in 2004/05, controlling 27% of the market. Sony was next at 20.6%, Toshiba at 15.6%, and Sharp Corp. came in fourth with a 10.2% share, Reuters notes. Hitachi said it planned to grab 35% of the Japanese market for HD DVD recorders.

MM Research Institute predicts that Japan's DVD recorder market will grow 26% to 5.6 million units in the current financial year to next March, up from 4.43 million in 2004/05.

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