Sony said Wednesday it will launch four new Blu-ray high-definition DVD recorders in Japan in November, in an effort to counter recent gains made by the rival HD DVD format. It's unclear if the new devices are slated to make their way to the U.S. HD DVD has trailed Blu-ray in disc sales this year, but it recently got a boost after movie studios Paramount and DreamWorks said they would back the format exclusively (full story). The new models will store up to 16 hours of high-definition programming on a dual-layer, 50-gigabyte Blu-ray disc; previous models were unable to record on a dual-layer disc. The priciest model is expected to come in at about $1,750. In June, video rental giant Blockbuster threw its support behind Blu-ray, saying it would no longer stock HD DVD movies (full story). Sony had hoped its PlayStation 3 game console, which comes with a Blu-ray player, would give its format an edge over HD DVD. But the PS3 has severely lagged rival Nintendo's Wii in sales since their launches late last year. Sony and Matsushita are Blu-ray's main backers, while HD DVD is backed by Toshiba and Microsoft.