AMSTERDAM - Philips Electronics said today it will launch an audio recorder by end 1997 or early 1998 that would allow consumers to record their own compact discs (CDs).
Philips, the first company in the world to announce it would launch a consumer product of this type, said the machine could be plugged into any existing home audio system and would allow users to record from all analog or digital audio sources.
It said the Philips CD-Recorder was compatible with CD- Recordable discs, which can be created just once, and CD- ReWritable discs, which can be erased and re-recorded.
The CD-ReWritable discs cannot be played on conventional CD players. The CD-Recorder, which can play CD-Recordable, CD- ReWritable as well as conventional compact discs, is expected to be marketed in Europe at a price of about $774. After the launch in this region, other areas will follow shortly, Philips said.
The CD-Recorder was one of a number of new products unveiled by Philips to the electronics trade media in Amsterdam.
Philips said it expected to have sold about 100 million audio CD players in various forms by the end of 1997.
"We expect that figure to rise by another eight million during 1998," a Philips spokesman told Reuters, adding that would include sales of the new CD-Recorder.
Asked at a news conference about prospective sales for the new CD format, Doug Dunn, chief executive of Philip's largest division, Sound and Vision, said: "I cannot tell you. We have a business plan but I'm not going to reveal that today."
He described the product as a "medium burner."
"We have a time advantage only, other people will come in," said Dunn, acknowledging the market was likely to become very competitive.
While declining to give absolute figures, he said there would be a "flood of people wanting to buy this."
Philips also said it would launch a digital camera for consumer and professional use in September.
The camera does not use film and features immediately picture review. The pictures can be processed by a personal computer and the images can be sent via e-mail, Philips said.
"We believe this is an emerging market where we see strong business opportunities," Dunn said in the presentation.
He added Philips' move into this field was logical given its expertise in digital and imaging technology.
Philips said the global consumer market for digital photography was rapidly expanding and was estimated by industry sources to total more than one million units in 1996.
This was expected to surge to between six and 12 million units by the year 2000, it added.
Philips said its digital camera ESP2 would be the first of a range of digital still-cameras.
It would also introduce a color printer which could be directly connected to the camera or to a personal computer.