Toshiba today confirmed rumours that it is planning to launch Blu-ray players and laptops with support for Blu-ray Disc later this year (see: Rumour: Toshiba to launch Blu-ray player?).

Toshiba was the primary backer of the HD DVD optical-disc format that had been battling Blu-ray Disc until last year.

In a brief statement Toshiba said it had applied for membership for the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), the standards setting and licensing body behind the format and would launch products before the end of 2009.

"In light of recent growth in digital devices supporting the Blu-ray format, combined with market demand from consumers and retailers alike, Toshiba has decided to join the BDA," it said.

After spending a fortune trying to prop up HD-DVD as the high-definition disc format of the future, Toshiba initially said it would concentrate its resources on existing DVD technology.

According to reports, the 'Toshiba BD-18' will be on sale in Japan in time for Christmas.

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