Mitsubishi Electronics, part of the same global conglomerate as Mitsubishi Motors, has already developed a car Blu-ray disc player, but now the race is on with rival Panasonic to bring the product to market. Panasonic has just revealed its new car Blue-ray player that integrates GPS, Bluetooth, and a television tuner, all of which can be watched on a 7in high-definition screen mounted in the car’s dashboard.

The new CY-BB1000D Panasonic Blu-ray player also features a 40GB hard-drive for storing media files such as video, music and photos. Details about Mitsubishi's own car Blu-ray player remain scarce, but we do know that it’s expected to reach the market sometime around March of next year.

As for the Panasonic unit, the company claims that the player will be arriving sometime this year, although an exact date was not given. Panasonic first revealed a prototype for a car Blu-ray player in 2007, which may have given them an edge over Mitsubishi in terms of development.

Bringing Blu-ray into the car creates a whole world of possibilities in regards to next-generation media and entertainment systems. Blu-ray GPS systems could offer much higher levels of detail to drivers, and mapping systems could be updated with a single disc considering Blu-ray discs have capacities of up to 50GB in dual-layer format.

Now that it has been proven Blu-ray players can be shrunk significantly for car applications, it should only be a matter of time before OEM carmakers begin integrating units such as these into their cars - expect the usual luxury marques to adopt this technology first before it filters across to more mainstream makes.