Panasonic has announced that they will be launching a Blu-ray Disc authoring service on July 1st. Using Panasonic's state-of-the-art Blu-ray Disc authoring equipment, movie studios will be able to produce titles with 1080p-quality video and advanced interactivity.
Panasonic, the brand for which Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. is known, announced today that it will commence Blu-ray Disc entertainment title (for Blu-ray Disc read-only media, or BD-ROM) authoring service for movie studios at Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory (PHL) in Universal City, California on July 1. Optical discs, like Blu-ray Disc, or conventional DVDs, need to have their content authored as a step toward physical replication of the disc as an entertainment title.

As Panasonic and other electronics manufacturers plan to introduce Blu-ray Disc players this year, Blu-ray titles from the major movie studios are expected to become increasingly available for consumers. The BD-ROM authoring service launched by Panasonic will facilitate the production of Blu-ray Disc titles, so that consumers can experience High-Definition movie entertainment at home.
If you'd like to read more, Panasonic's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Toshiba has announced that they will be launching the world's first HD DVD recorder on July 14th. Along with HD DVD recording capabilities, the RD-A1 is equipped with a whopping 1TB of hard drive space.

Toshiba Corporation today unveiled the future of home video entertainment in an age of digital, high definition content: the world's first digital hard disk video recorder integrating a recordable HD DVD in combination with a 1-terabyte (TB) hard disk. The new "RD-A1" can record and store up to 130 hours of high-definition (HD) broadcasts on its high capacity hard disk and record up to 230 minutes of HD content to a single HD DVD disc. In addition to superb image and sound recording and playback, the new recorder also offers an extensive range of advanced functions made possible by the versatility of HD DVD, including optimized navigation and menu displays. The RD-A1 is scheduled for roll out in the Japanese market from July 14.
The RD-A1 also comes with a hefty price tag of 398,000 Yen (~$3,436US). If you'd like to read more, Toshiba's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
According to, Sony has once again pushed back the launch of their Blu-ray Disc player, the BDP-S1. Originally scheduled to ship in June, the BDP-S1 will now hit store shelves on October 25th.
The first Blu-Ray player from Sony, the BDP-S1, has been pushed back to an October 25th release date - meaning that the firm's consumer Blu-Ray product line will not appear until only weeks before the arrival of the PlayStation 3.

The BDP-S1 had most recently been scheduled for a mid-August launch date, and the new delay of over two months puts the release of the player curiously close to the PlayStation 3 - which will be appearing only weeks later in mid-November.
I can't imagine too many people rushing out to buy a BDP-S1 when they can pick up a PS3 for considerably less. Then again, in some twisted way, that may be Sony's intentions. Anyway, if you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Mitsubishi Chemical has announced that they will be releasing their new 30GB HD DVD-R DL on the Japanese market in late July. Here's part of their press release, translated from Japanese:

Mitsubishi chemical media Ltd. (The headquarters: the Tokyo Minato Ward and president: Otsuka heavy morality) will put two one side layer 30GB HD DVD-R (write-once type) disk for recording on the market in the end of July this year. It answers demand of wanting to want to record and to preserve the length time image like the high-resolution in the background of a real spread of the digital Hi-Vision broadcasting. In this disk, the digital Hi-Vision broadcasting can be recorded for 150 minutes like the high-definition television image quality (transfer rate about 24Mbps time). I will propose the record media in correspondence and a digital Hi-Vision new age enough to high-definition images that exceed two hours.
Mitsubishi has not announced a price. However, the media is expected to run about 4500 Yen (~$39US). If you'd like to read more, the entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Primera has announced that they've started shipping the world's first Blu-ray Disc duplication system, the Bravo XR-Blu. Here's part of their press release:
Primera Technology, Inc., the world's leading developer and manufacturer of automated CD/DVD disc publishing equipment, today announced that it has begun shipments of the Bravo XR-Blu Disc Publisher.

Bravo XR-Blu is the world's first automated burn and print device to support new high-capacity Blu-ray Disc recorders and media. Shipping of the unit coincides with announcements this week from other Blu-ray Disc content and equipment providers such as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Sony Electronics and Samsung Electronics.

Along with its built-in robotics and full-color direct-to-disc inkjet printing, the Bravo XR-Blu incorporates Pioneer Electronics (USA), Inc.'s new BDR-101A Blu-ray Disc/DVD Recorder. Blu-ray enabled recording software based on technology from Sonic Solutions , the leader in Digital Media Software, is included to provide a complete and professional Blu-ray Disc publishing solution. Recordable BD-R printable-surface media for the XR-Blu is being provided by TDK Electronics Corporation.
The Bravo XR-Blu is available now for a suggested retail price of $5295. More information can be found on Primera's website. Add a comment
Memorex sent out a press release this morning, announcing that their 25 GB recordable and rewritable Blu-ray Discs have started to ship to retail stores.

Memorex, the leading brand of optical media at U.S. retail and a division of Imation Corp. (NYSE: IMN - News), today announced the retail availability of its highly anticipated Blu-ray media. The recordable (BD-R) and rewritable (BD-RE) discs support high-definition (HD) video recording, making them ideal for consumers who want to capture, save and share up to 25 GB of HD content in crystal-clear quality. Blu-ray also meets today's high-capacity data storage needs with five times greater capacity than recordable DVD media and faster transfer speeds.

"These next-generation discs signal the advent of high-capacity, HD video recording and data storage," said Ron Zinke, vice president, Consumer Division, for Imation Corp. "The ability for consumers to author and record their own HD content completes the circle of benefits that have long been the promise of HD broadcasting and HD home entertainment centers."
Memorex's Blu-ray recordable (BD-R) and re-writable (BD-RE) media is available now for a suggested retail price of $19.99 and $29.99, respectively. More information can be found here. Add a comment
According to Digit magazine, Samsung is still considering a combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player. The company is currently working on one and could launch it by the end of this year.
Samsung is already working on a drive that handles both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD, said Kim Du-Hyon, an assistant manager in Samsung's home-platform product planning division, in a briefing with reporters at the company's headquarters in Suwon, South Korea.

"We don't have a plan to make an HD DVD-only player but are considering a universal player," he said. "We are preparing HD DVD [support] now and if we launch a universal player it will be the end of this year or early next year."
If you'd like to read more, head on over to Digit magazine. Add a comment
InterVideo and Ulead have announced that they've passed the Blu-ray Disc certification testing. Here's part of their press release:
InterVideo, Inc. (NASDAQ:IVII - News) and its partner Ulead Systems, Inc. (TSE:2487 - News), industry leaders in video, image and DVD software and members of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), announced today that InterVideo Ulead has met and passed all of the requirements from Blu-ray Disc License Entity. InterVideo Ulead is the first to announce certification of its Blu-ray Disc applications.

InterVideo Ulead BD technologies include support for BD-R, BD-RE, BD-ROM and BD-J playback, authoring and burning which will be available in WinDVD BD(TM) and BD DiscRecorder(TM), and will later be incorporated into the DVD MovieFactory suite for video editing and DVD & Blu-ray Disc authoring.
It's good to see that DVD MovieFactory will be getting BD support back after Ulead yanked it back in March. If you'd like to read more, the entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that they've shipped the first round of Blu-ray titles to retail. Here's part of their press release:
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) launches the first slate of Blu-ray Disc (BD) titles today. The delivery of the first seven BD titles, timed to coincide with the first commercially available BD player from Samsung Electronics and BD compatible VAIO PC from Sony, marks the beginning of a new era in home entertainment that will forever change the way consumers look at, listen to and play movies, music and games.

Titles available at retail today from SPHE include: "50 First Dates," starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore; Luc Besson's visually stunning "The Fifth Element"; the hit blockbuster comedy starring Will Smith, "Hitch"; "House of Flying Daggers" from director Zhang Yimou; "XXX," starring Vin Diesel; "The Terminator," featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and the follow-up to the hit action-thriller "Underworld," from director Len Wiseman and starring Kate Beckinsale, "Underworld Evolution."
With the launch of Samsung's BD player still 5 days away, I don't see too many people running to their local Best Buy today. If you'd like to read more, Sony's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Forget about Gucci bags and Rolex watches. According to DigiTimes, the Chinese are now selling counterfeit BenQ and Plextor DVD burners.
Counterfeit entry-level DVD burners under various brand names, including BenQ and Plextor, are being sold in the China market. Recent price cuts for entry-level models to 380-400 yuan (US$48-50) have boosted sales but reduced margins for distributors and retailers of branded products, according to Taiwanese makers of DVD burners.
Just keep this in mind if that BenQ or Plextor DVD burner on eBay seems to be too good of a deal. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment