ARM recently announced that Samsung has licensed their Jazelle software technology. According to their press release, Samsung plans to deploy this Java acceleration technology in their BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc player.
The ARM Jazelle Java Technology Enabling Kit (JTEK(TM)) software licensed by Samsung is a high-performance technology originally developed for the mobile handset market. With the release of the Samsung Blu-ray player, ARM is bringing the proven success of JTEK software running on an ARM processor to the newest generation of consumer devices in the home. Using ARM Jazelle technology, Samsung Blu-ray players will unleash the power of BluRay discs that support the Java BD standard, utilizing advanced features not available on conventional DVD players, such as interactive, easy-to-use menus that can run quickly and seamlessly - without repeatedly accessing the disc.
If you'd like to read more, ARM's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
At this year's IFA, had the chance to sit down and interview Jim Armour from Toshiba's Storage Device Division. As you can imagine, the hot topic was HD DVD and how it is superior to Blu-ray. According to Jim, the way Blu-ray discs are constructed causes warping which can damage a player's lens. But in just raw data storage, Blu-ray is going to be better as it holds more data.
Jim Armour: Looking at the numbers on a bit of paper, you'd think so, but what you need to do is look at the Blu-ray discs and players first, before you make a decision. Let's go back to the disc construction for a second. HD DVD uses a sandwich method which helps to combat disc warping. Blu-ray doesn't. It uses a single plastic substrate layer, then adds on the recording material and then top it all off with a very hard Zircon layer. This means that when the disc expands to get hot, it will warp downwards as that Zircon layer isn't going to budge. But that's a uniform direction of warping? Surely as long as you're ready for it, it won't make any difference?
Jim Armour: You'd think so, wouldn't you? But now we have to go back to the lens. Blu-ray uses a 0.85 Numerical Aperture and, with their recording layer just 0.1mm below the disc surface, they've got to get the lens very close to the disc surface to be able to focus it tightly enough to give them a 25GB storage capacity. So now you've got a Blu-ray lens sitting somewhere between 0.1 and 0.3 millimetres from a disc coated with a substance almost as tough as diamond which, when it warps, can only warp downwards, towards the lens. Guess what happens when you run Zircon over glass at 2000rpm? Sure, your data will be safe but you're going to need a new Blu-ray lens.
At this point, I don't really think warping is an issue. However, as BD reading and writing speeds increase, this might change. If you'd like to read more, head on over to Add a comment
At the IFA show, Toshiba announced that they would be launching their new HD-DVD players in Europe this November.
As in the US, Toshiba will sell two models in Europe. A €599 model (£400) will be available from November and a €899 (£600) model will go on sale a month later, the company said at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin.

That means European consumers will be paying a higher price for the entry-level player than their counterparts in the US, where Toshiba sells its HD-A1 for £260.

The Toshiba players have much in common. The HD-E1 and HD-XE1 both play a wide range of optical discs including HD DVD, DVD and CDs. However, only the more expensive HD-XE1 supports video output at full high-definition of 1080 lines and progressive scanning (1080p). The HD-E1 will manage up to 1080i, which almost certainly beats the TV in your living room right now, although it's regarded as slightly inferior to the 1080p format.
If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
On Friday, Reg Hardware and heise online reported that Pioneer was planning to ship a combo HD DVD/Blu-ray next year. Soon after, there was talk that this wasn't true. To find out, we went directly to Pioneer Europe's Product Manager, Brendan Sheridan. Here's what he had to say:
My standard answer to the question "Do Pioneer have any plans to support HD DVD?"


"Currently we have no plans to do so..... however, Pioneer will monitor the market situation with other formats and will "consider" to adopt those formats as and where the market is demanding it".

It seems that my comments to some press people at IFA have been taken totally out of context and that it has been concluded by themselves that Pioneer would be introducing HD DVD support into our future models !!!

So, the case still stands that way..... "Currently we have no plans to do so....."
This seems to be happening way too often lately. Reporters just don't understand the technologies and are misinterpretting the comments of product managers. Please feel free to join the ongoing discussion in our forum. Add a comment
Lite-On Europe has officially announced that they will be supporting both Blu-ray and HD-DVD. According to their press release, the company will have its BDP-X1 Blu-ray Disc player and HDP-Z1 HD-DVD player on display at this year's IFA.
On this year's IFA, from 1-6 September in Berlin, Lite-On will present its first High Definition playback devices. Besides a previously announced Blu-ray Disc player, Lite-On will also show an HD-DVD player. This means that in the "battle" of the two new formats, Lite-On takes a neutral position. Lite-On believes that both formats will stay in the market for some time, and therefore decided to support both. In the end, the market will decide which format, if any, will win.
Now we just need a player that supports both formats. No word on price. However, Lite-On is planning on launching the BDP-X1 and HDP-Z1 in the first half of 2007. If you'd like to read more, Lite-On's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Bad news for Asian XBox 360 owners. DigiTimes has reported that the external HD-DVD drive for the Xbox 360 will not be available in Asia.
Microsoft plans to launch external HD-DVD drives for Xbox 360 consoles in North America, around the end of this year, but the drive will be not be made available in Asia, according to Microsoft Taiwan.

This is because the external HD-DVD drive is designed to play back movies pre-recorded on HD-DVD blue-laser discs, and the supply of HD-DVD movies in Asia is not sufficient to support the sale of such hardware, for the time being at least, Microsoft Taiwan pointed out.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
According to an article at DigiTimes, Microsoft Taiwan has confirmed that the Xbox 360's new external HD DVD drive is just to play back movies and will not support games.
Microsoft Taiwan, in response to questions raised by Taiwan-based developers of on-line, PC and console games, has confirmed that the HD-DVD drive to be used with its Xbox 360 game console is to merely play back HD-DVD movies and not to support games on HD-DVD, according to industry sources.

Taiwan-based game developers think blue-laser support for games is key for the Xbox 360 to be competitive with the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) which will have a built-in Blu-ray Disc (BD) drive, the sources pointed out. These developers are disappointed that the external drive will not support games and feel unwelcomed by the HD-DVD interest group, the sources indicated.
The article also mentions that Microsoft is concerned that by putting games on HD DVD it may increase costs and decrease the stability of the software. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Here's some good news for those that like to import movies from Japan. According to Digit news, Blu-ray Disc players and movies sold later this year in Japan and the US will have the same region code.
Blu-ray Disc players and movies expected on sale later this year in Japan and the US will share the same region code, Sony said Thursday.

Current DVD discs and players on sale in the two countries use different region codes so that software bought in one country will not work on players purchased in the other country. The system was designed to allow content producers to better manage release and sale of content around the world.
If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Lite-On Europe has announced that they will be launching their Blu-ray devices at this year's IFA. Along with their first Blu-ray writer, the LH-2B1S, the company plans to show their new HDMI equipped HDD / DVD-recorders.
Lite-On IT is ready for the High Definition era and will show their next generation products for the first time in Europe at IFA 2006. Lite-On will show a Blu-ray Disc (BD) playback device as well as a Blu-ray Disc compatible optical drive at IFA 2006 in Berlin, from 1-6 September. The company can be found in Hall 26, at booth 103, just like last year.

On this year's IFA there will be an important role for High Definition and its related products, like the successors of DVD. Lite-On IT will show their first BD-player, a product for the home entertainment market that will be launched in Europe in 2007. Also, the company will show their next generation HDD / DVD-recorders, with HDMI-output.

Of course Lite-On will also present their latest Optical Disk Drives (ODD) at IFA. Also in this market Lite-On is ready for the next generation of optical storage formats. The first Lite-On Blu-ray writer, LH-2B1S, is ready to hit the market and will be shown on IFA for the first time. Other technologies in ODD that will be presented at the Lite-On stand are LightScribe for direct disc labeling and EZ-DUB for easy copying.
More information can be found on Lite-On Europe's website. Add a comment
Sonic Solutions has announced that they've teamed up with Akimbo Systems, integrating their video-on-demand service into Roxio Venue. Here's part of their press release:
Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ: SNIC), the leader in digital media software, and Akimbo Systems, creator of the first Internet video-on-demand service for television, announced today a marketing and licensing partnership that will significantly expand the audience reach of the Akimbo Service. Akimbo will be integrated with Roxio Venue, Sonic's powerful media application, providing service access for the first time to a broad base of PC users and letting them easily browse, purchase, manage and enjoy Akimbo's growing selection of over 14,000 high-quality programs. In the future, Akimbo plans to also incorporate Sonic AuthorScript DVD-on-Demand technology so participating content partners can enable consumers to record downloaded entertainment to DVD.
Under the agreement with Sonic, Akimbo will distribute Roxio Venue directly to consumers and through their service provider partners. Sonic will include Akimbo as a premier service provider in the retail version of Roxio Venue. More information can be found here. Add a comment