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ZENITH TO OFFER TOSHIBA-STANDARD VIDEODISKS

The bitter standards battle that has pitted Sony Corp. and Philips against Toshiba and Time-Warner over the next generation of digital videodisks has tilted in favor of the Toshiba camp, with Zenith Electronics Corp. indicating it plans to offer players based on the Toshiba standard.

Both groups are trying to establish a new platform for home systems capable of playing full-length feature films stored on compact disks the size of today's CD audio disks.Zenith, the nation's second-largest television brand, said that it would begin shipping its player in the middle of 1996. The Toshiba-Time Warner standard has a storage capacity of up to 10 billion bytes on two sides - enough to store two feature films. In contrast, the proposed Sony-Philips standard will store up to 7.5 billion bytes on two layers on a single side.

Until recently it had appeared that the two groups were moving toward a compromise that would have permitted the industry to move toward a unified standard, but on Feb. 22 Sony said that it planned to pursue its own technology.

Zenith joins eight other consumer electronics companies and motion picture studios, including Matsushita Electric Industrial Company Ltd., Thomson Consumer Electronics S.A. and MCA, and MGM/UA, that have said they plan to introduce the two-sided technology next year.