Yesterday afternoon, Sony announced their latest A/V receiver, the STR-DG1000. Designed to optimize Blu-ray and other HD sources, the STR-DG1000 includes features like dual HDMI active intelligence, 7.1 channel sound and support for resolutions up to 1080p.
Whether it's 1080p pass-through, eight channels of uncompressed audio, smooth video switching, simplifying set-up of a surround sound system, and automatically adjusting performance, this new A/V receiver is optimized for a full high-definition experience.

The STR-DG1000 receiver has several HD enhancing features, beginning with dual HDMI active intelligence, which automatically detects and receives the best possible video and audio signals from connected devices. This all-digital path from source to display also handles 1080p resolution and up to eight channels of uncompressed audio.
The STR-DG1000 will ship in August for about $800. More information can be found on Sony's website. Add a comment
InterVideo has announced that Lenovo has decided to bundle WinDVD Creator 3 with their ThinkPad, ThinkCentre and 3000 family of PCs. Here's part of their press release:
InterVideo, Inc. (NASDAQ: IVII) announced today that it has partnered with Lenovo to bundle WinDVD Creator 3, a full-featured DVD authoring package, with select Lenovo notebook and desktop PCs.

Lenovo, an innovative international technology company formed as a result of the acquisition by the Lenovo Group of the IBM Personal Computing Division, is including InterVideo's WinDVD Creator 3 pre-installed with its ThinkPad T Series, ThinkCentre A and M Series, and Lenovo 3000 family of notebook and desktop PCs.
If you'd like to read more, InterVideo's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Sony isn't the only company with a Blu-ray equipped PC on the way. Alienware has announced that their new Aurora 7500 and Aurora ALX desktop systems will also feature Blu-ray Disc technology.

Alienware -- the leading manufacturer of high-performance desktop, notebook, media center, servers and professional systems -- will offer AMD LIVE!(TM) branded Aurora(TM) 7500 and Aurora ALX desktop systems, enabling users to consolidate their photos, videos, music, and movies in one place while accessing all of it through their TVs, game consoles, MP3 players, cell phones, and other common digital devices. In addition, Aurora 7500, Area-51 7500, and ALX desktop systems are now featuring Blu-ray storage technology, a breakthrough optical disc format that delivers a maximum storage capacity of 50GB on a single dual-layer disc.
According to Alienware's website, the Aurora 7500 and Aurora ALX will ship in mid-June. More information can be found here. Add a comment
InterVideo and Ulead have announced that their Blu-ray Disc playback and recording software is being bundled with Sony's new BD notebook and desktop PC's.
InterVideo, Inc. (NASDAQ:IVII - News) and its partner Ulead Systems, Inc. (TSE:2487 - News), industry leaders in video, image and next-generation DVD software, today announced that InterVideo Ulead's Blu-ray Disc (BD) playback and recording software are bundled with Sony Corporation's first-to-market BD notebook and desktop PCs, model name VAIO Type A - VGN-AR70B, VAIO Type R - VGN-RC72DPL9 and VGN-RC72DP. InterVideo WinDVD BD for VAIO is one of the earliest BD playback software and has complete support for all BD title formats. Ulead BD DiscRecorder(TM) for VAIO is a video-recording application that allows real-time and off-line recording of standard and high-definition video onto new high-capacity Blu-ray Discs. Ulead DVD DiskRecorder(TM) Move SDK is a built-in application which transfers recorded TV programs to Blu-ray Discs or DVDs and incorporates content protection.
If you'd like to read more, InterVideo's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
NEC has announced that they've developed a new DVD writer chipset offering 18x DVD±R and 16x DVD-RAM writing speeds. Here's part of their press release, translated from Japanese:

NEC Electronics developed a new product that was able to construct record type DVD drive economically by paying the function that had been distributed to two LSI to one package as a product lineup expansion of system LSI series "SCOMBO(R)" (Escombo) for record type DVD drive so far, and decided to begin the sample shipment of the name of "MC-10041" on June 1. Moreover, a new product enables the record and the reproduction by 18 X speed that becomes the highest level in the industry in two standards named DVD-R and DVD+R.
According to NEC's press release, the MC-10041 will be adopted by both Pioneer and Sony NEC Optiarc. More information can be found here. Add a comment
Businessweek has a great editorial about the DRM technologies being used by Blu-ray and HD DVD. According to the author, many of these copy-protection schemes are simply anti-consumer.
Having grown tired of one war, we're on the eve of another, complete with alliances, secret codes, and laser beams. No, not Iran -- it's the fight over the next generation of DVD devices. The real battle isn't between Sony (SNE ) and Microsoft (MSFT ) and their chosen formats, it's between the manufacturers and us -- the consumers, the ones who ultimately pay for it all. And the battle is over Digital Rights Management (DRM), because in addition to increased storage, these new disks are packed full of copy-protection functions, some of which impair our ability to use the content we pay for, the way we like and are legally entitled to.
It's definitely an interesting read. If you'd like to check it out, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
According to an article at DigiTimes, CMC Magnetics plans to raise CD-R disc prices by as much as 10% in June. This price hike is due in part to tight global supply for CD-R discs.
As second-tier makers in Taiwan and smaller makers in China have given up production of CD-R discs due to intense competition and leading Taiwanese makers switch CD-R production capacity to making DVD discs, the global supply of CD-R discs is 20% short of demand this quarter, Wong indicated. The gap may expand to 30% next quarter and if so, CMC may further raise its quotes by another 5-10%, Wong noted.
With CMC raising their prices, you can expect smaller manufacturers to do the same. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
While those of us at CDRLabs are taking it easy, enjoying Memorial Day, the guys at CD Freaks have put together a review of Plextor's new 18x DVD±RW, the PX-760A. Here's a sample of what they had to say:
The Plextor PX-760A has excellent DVD±R writing performance, with its 18x writing speed cutting the time taken to burn this media type. Setting aside the 18x writing speed, the Plextor PX-760A 16x and 12x burns return very respectable writing times.

The Plextor PX-760A can write most DVD±R with very good quality. PoweRec and Auto Strategy assured the best results possible over our range of tested media.
If you'd like to read more, the entire review can be found here. Add a comment
Macrovision has announced that their analog content protection (ACP) technology has been selected by the AACS LA to protect next-generation formats like Blu-ray and HD DVD. Here's part of their press release:
Macrovision Corporation (Nasdaq:MVSN - News) today announced that its analog content protection technology (ACP) has been included as a requirement in the specification for the content protection technology for next-generation optical media content such as Blu-ray and HD DVD by the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator (AACS LA). This announcement expands Macrovision's leadership in content protection for entertainment content to next-generation, high-definition media formats.

With this agreement, Macrovision's ACP will be included in the latest AACS LA protection specification release, the Advanced Access Content System, which manages content stored on the next generation of prerecorded and recordable optical media for consumer use with PCs and CE devices. Using Macrovision's ACP solution, movie studios and consumer electronics companies will be able to protect content on next-generation optical discs from analog piracy and consumers will be able to enjoy the enhanced quality of these next-generation formats.
The movie studios are really trying to cover all their bases. With ACP, you won't even be able to make low quality, analog copies of HD titles. If you'd like to read more, Macrovision's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Lite-On released a few new firmware updates today including ones for the SHM-165H6S, SHW-160H6S and SHW-160P6S. You can download them directly using the links below.
SHW-160H6S CS07
SOHC-5236V R$0G
As usual, the only description given for for these updates is that they "Match More Media". Please feel free to share your experiences with this new firmware in our forum. Add a comment