The guys over at CD Freaks have taken a look at LG's LightScribe capable "Super-Multi" drive, the GSA-4166B. Here's what they had to say about it:
LG's offering with the GSA-4166B performs with good to excellent write quality on just about every media type tested with a few exceptions. The drives support for DVD-RAM and LightScribe Direct to Disc Labeling technology truly makes this drive a ‘Super Multi Drive'.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to CD Freaks and check out their entire review. Add a comment
If you're thinking about getting a Blu-ray or HD DVD drive for your computer, you're probably going to want to get an HDMI compliant graphics card, especially if you plan to watch movies in these formats. If that's the case, you might want to check out Sapphire's new HDMI/HDCP compliant graphics card, the Radeon X1600Pro HDMI.

Leading graphics supplier Sapphire Technology has just confirmed it will be the first company to offer HDMI compatible versions in its latest series of graphics accelerators to be previewed at CeBit 2006. The Sapphire Radeon X1600Pro HDMI card is scheduled for availability in April and will deliver both audio and video to HDMI compliant displays and televisions.

The X1600 series has been designed to deliver high efficiency, high performance in Shader Model 3.0 and enhanced image quality. The architecture also supports AvivoTM delivering vibrant high fidelity images and video playback to the latest High Definition (HD) video standards. The new HDMI version is a low profile PCI Express card which supports HDCP and delivers exciting new levels of display performance and quality over this new industry standard connection interface. Two versions provide for either an external SPDIF or internal cable to be connected so that the audio signal is delivered over the HDMI cable.
No word on price yet. However, the Sapphire Radeon X1600Pro HDMI is expected to ship in April. If you'd like to read more, Sapphire's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
NVIDIA has announced the availability of their new PureVideo technology. With PureVideo, H.264 decoding tasks are divided between the GPU and CPU, offering a smoother frame rate and better image quality than with a CPU alone.
NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processing technologies, today announced the immediate availability of new NVIDIA PureVideo technology enabling comprehensive support for high-definition video including hardware acceleration for content based on the advanced H.264 specification.

H.264, which is also known as the Advanced Video Codec (AVC) specification or MPEG-4 Part 10, is one of the digital video codecs specified for the Blu-ray (BD) and High Definition DVD (HD DVD) formats. H.264 delivers two to three times the compression efficiency of the MPEG-2 standard, which is used to create current DVD videos. H.264 has been adopted by both the DVD Forum for HD DVDs and the Blu-ray Disc Association for Blu-ray Discs, and VC-1 has also been adopted by the DVD Forum for HD DVDs.
NVIDIA PureVideo with H.264 support is available now and can be downloaded from their website. Otherwise more information on the technology can be found here. Add a comment
The results are in and our readers have chosen the BenQ DW1640 as the top DVD writer for the month of February. Here are the top five drives:
  1. BenQ DW1640
  2. BenQ DW1655
  3. LG GSA-4167B
  4. Plextor PX-716A
  5. Pioneer DVR-110/A10
Your favorite drive didn't make it onto the list? Then go and vote for March's top DVD writer. Add a comment
The DVD Forum held their 33rd Steering Committee meeting earlier this week. Among other things, the group approved the specs for dual layer HD DVD-R and HD DVD-RW media. Here are some of the highlights from the meeting:
  • Approval of "DVD Specifications for High Density Recordable Disc for Dual Layer (HD DVD-R for DL) File System Specifications, Version 1.9"
  • Approval of "1) DVD Specifications for High Density Re-recordable Disc (HD DVD-RW) Physical Specifications, Version 0.9
    2) DVD Specifications for High Density Re-recordable Disc (HD DVD-RW) 1x-speed Optional Specifications, Revision 0.9"
  • Approval of "1) DVD Specifications for High Density Re-recordable Disc for Dual Layer (HD DVD-RW for DL) Physical Specifications, Version 1.9
    2) DVD Specifications for High Density Re-recordable Disc for Dual Layer (HD DVD-RW for DL) 1x-speed Optional Specifications, Revision 0.9"
  • Approval of "HD DVD-VR (Video Recording) Product Requirement & Guideline, Version 1.0"
  • Approval of "Logo/Mark for DVD-RW for DL"
  • Approval of "The RPC subcommittee's Request to SC:
    -The RPC subcommittee to request input from studios regarding current and anticipated use of DVD-Video RPC system.
    -The RPC subcommittee to request input from VPC regarding marketplace data regarding multi-region products.
    -The RPC subcommittee to communicate with DVD CCA regarding RPC enforcement.
    -The RPC subcommittee to consider possible change to region code map."
If you'd like to read more, the Steering Committee's entire list of resolutions can be found here. here. Add a comment
heise online has reported that the AACS LA has failed to come to agreement concerning the final specs for the new Advanced Access Content System (AACS). According to the article, this delay could push back the release of both HD DVD and Blu-ray products by at least a month.
Last Friday, the meeting of the AACS LA was to resolve the final specifications of the new Advanced Access Content System (AACS). But insiders are reporting that no such agreement was reached. Instead, it is said that an important member of the Blu-ray Disc Association is still voicing concerns about the interaction of AACS and the additional BD+ protection for Blu-ray movies. The next meeting is scheduled for February 23rd and 24th.

Without the AACS specification, the copy protection keys that manufacturers of drives and media need cannot be produced. For instance, manufacturers such as NEC, Pioneer, Samsung, and Toshiba are eagerly awaiting the specifications so they can implement AACS in their equipment.
Let's hope that they can come to some sort of agreement at the next meeting. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
The guys at CD Freaks have put together a review of NEC's new "Super-Multi" drive, the ND-4550A. Here's what they had to say about it:
The NEC ND-4550A being a so called "Multi Recorder" and supports recording on currently available media formats (CD-R/CW, DVD+R/+RW/+R DL and DVD-R/-RW/-RAM/-R DL).

The NEC ND-4550A can write CD-R/RW media with excellent/very good quality, and can write those media types at high speed. DVD±R/RW writing quality is good with most media, and once again the NEC ND-4550A can burn the media fairly quickly.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to CD Freaks and check out their review. Want a second opinion? Our review of the ND-4550A can be found here. Add a comment
Today CDRLabs takes a long overdue look at Plextor's external 16x DVD±RW, the PX-740UF. Based on the BenQ DW1640, this drive is capable of 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+R DL and 4x DVD-R DL writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. The PX-740UF also features 48x CD reading and writing speeds, 32x rewriting speeds andsupport for both FireWire and USB 2.0.

In this review we'll take a look at some of the features found on the PX-740UF and see how it compares to some of the 16x DVD±RW drives from the competition. Does Plextor's external writer have what it takes? You'll have to read the review to find out.

Plextor PX-740UF 16x FireWire/USB 2.0 DVD±RW
If you have any comments or questions about this review or the Plextor PX-740UF, please post them in the forum by clicking the link below. Add a comment
The German website heise online has gotten their hands on Pioneer's upcoming Blu-ray writer, the BDR-101. While AACS wasn't enabled on the drive, they were still able to run a few tests. Translated from German:
Since the read head of the Pioneer BDR-101 works with only one lens, one did without the support of CDs. In the test we could for the first time burn a once recordable Bd-r of TDK. The BD-R blank has a capacity of 22,56 GByte, somewhat more than a again-recordable BD-RE, which comes on 22,23 GByte. The remaining storage location needs the BD-RE for spare substitution of the defect management.

In order to burn an BD-R with 2X (CLV, corresponds to 9 MByte/s) completely, the BDR-101 needed 45:05 min. In addition Pioneer supplied a test computer, on which a special version was installed by Nero 7,0,5,2. The Disc could be read also problem-free with 2X. The average access time to a coincidentally selected sector amounted to 300 ms.

The equipment could likewise describe an DVD-R with 8X (ZCLV) in 10:27 min. The write quality with a TDK blank was throughout good with a small error rate. During the reading of an DVD-R the BDR-101 reached a transfer rate of 8,2 MByte/s with a middle access time of 272 ms. A two-part Dvd-9 was selected with 7,5 MByte/s and 252 ms.
According to the article, Pioneer expects to ship the BDR-101 to their OEM customers by the end of the month. The drive is expected to go for $975 which is almost double that of the Samsung SH-B022. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
DigiTimes has reported that the Taiwan Information Storage Association (TISA) has asked Philips to revise their new Veeza CD-R licensing system.
The Taiwan Information Storage Association (TISA) has asked Royal Philips Electronics to revise the Veeza system launched last month for the licensing of its CD-R disc patents. Although the new system carries a lower charge for each disc, it requires licensing for every shipment, which TISA says creates difficulties for the makers.
You'd think with the money they're saving on royalties, they could hire some more people to manage the licensing. For the entire article, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment