Matsushita, aka Panasonic, will support Microsoft's Windows Media technologies in a range of consumer products including a DVD (digital versatile disc) player due out next month.

This lends a hand towards Microsoft's goal of pushing its multimedia format beyond PCs and into a range of consumer devices, the companies announced yesterday.

In a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas yesterday evening, Microsoft boss Bill Gates showed how consumers can now burn a CD using WMA (Windows Media Audio) and play it back on a Panasonic DVD player.

Some users like to play music CDs on their DVD players because they are often hooked up to hi-fi audio systems.

Panasonic's first player to support the Windows technology, the DVD-RV32, is slated to go on sale in the US next month for around £140 ex VAT.

Panasonic will also support Microsoft's audio format in its SV-SD80 digital music player and will make chips for its DVD and CD players that work with the Microsoft technology, Panasonic officials said.