Record companies are trying to tempt fans away from MP3s by releasing albums in a crystal-clear Blu-Ray format.

Nirvana's Nevermind and Amy Winehouse's Back To Black will be among the first records to be released in the format, which comes to the UK this month.

Listeners will need a Blu-Ray player and a stereo system to play the discs, which promise to deliver "the sound as it was intended by the artist".

However, high-fidelity audio products have failed to catch on in the past.

DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD (SACD), both of which launched in the early 2000s, delivered better quality sound than ordinary CDs but faltered in the marketplace.

The new format, officially called Pure Audio, uses similar encoding techniques to those predecessors but, crucially, has the support of all the major record labels from the outset.

Pioneered by Universal Music, it launched in France earlier this year, where the initial batch of 35 titles have already achieved sales of more than 500,000.

BBC News