According to the Mainichi Daily News, Matsushita has decided to close its Panasonic AVC Networks Germany GmbH division at the end of March of 2007.
Japanese electronics maker Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. said Tuesday it plans to close operations at its Panasonic AVC Networks Germany GmbH unit at the end of March 2007 due to increased global competition and sharp price declines.

The division was primarily responsible for manufacturing and product development for the European DVD recorder market.
While DVD recorder development will be shifted to Japan, production will continue at the Matsushita's Panasonic AVC Networks Slovakia s.r.o. subsidiary. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Sonic Solutions has announced that their Roxio Roxio BD software is being bundled with Fujitsu's new Blu-ray equipped desktop computer, writer, the DESKPOWER TX95S/D. Here's part of their press release:
Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ: SNIC), the leader in digital media software, announced today that its Roxio Blu-ray Disc (BD) software has been selected by Fujitsu Limited to power its DESKPOWER TX95S/D. Expected to be the first desktop computer available with an integrated Blu-ray Disc drive when it launches in Japan at the end of June, Fujitsu's DESKPOWER TX95S/D will usher in a new era of high-definition optical recording on the PC.

"Sonic's design win with Fujitsu underscores the performance, quality and know-how Sonic brings to PC Blu-ray editing, recording and playback," said Richard Doherty, Research Director for The Envisioneering Group. "By leading the market in professional tools, Sonic is extremely well prepared to craft authoring and playback solutions for PC makers, CE device manufacturers and consumers now eager to embrace the quality and performance of High Definition."
If you'd like to read more, Sonic's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Sonic has announced the launch of Roxio Labs. According to their press release, this new website gives consumers early access to new software and technologies as well as a way to provide feedback.
Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ: SNIC), the leader in digital media software, today launched Roxio Labs, a customer and technology-driven initiative to rapidly bring innovative digital media technologies and services to Roxio's digital media-savvy customer base. Through the Roxio Labs Web site (, consumers will have the opportunity to try a wide variety of emerging technologies - developed both in-house as well as by 3rd parties - and provide valuable feedback that will help shape a new generation of compelling, web-connected, digital media software applications.

"Innovation is innate to the Sonic culture and has been a key component of our long-term strategy and successful track record of industry firsts," said Mark Ely, Sonic's executive vice president of strategy. "With Roxio Labs, we're building on this culture of innovation by enabling our global teams of digital media experts to rapidly develop exciting new products and services and deploy them directly over the web. In addition to providing applications that integrate into and complement our flagship Easy Media Creator and Toast platforms, Roxio Labs will launch a broad range of tools and technologies essential to today's digital media lifestyle."
Sonic already has a number of applications for download. Unfortunately, most of them are not free. More information on Roxio Labs can be found here. Add a comment
DigiTimes has reported that Lite-On will begin volume production of 18x DVD burners in July. Most surprising is the company's plan to begin production of 20x DVD burners in the fourth quarter of this year.
Lite-On IT will begin volume production of 18x DVD burners in July and plans to start production of 20x DVD burners in the fourth quarter of this year, according to Michael Gong, the company's Optical Disc Drive Business general manager, at a press conference following the company's 2006 shareholders meeting on June 15.

As OEM prices of 16x DVD burners drop further due to intense competition, the switch to production of more profitable 18x and 20x DVD burners is aimed at keeping overall gross margins from falling, Gong indicated.
The article also mentions that Lite-On will start volume production of Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD optical drives in August. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
According to DigiTimes, Ritek is expecting the oversupply of DVD+R/-R discs to decrease or even disappear in the 4Q of this year. This decrease is partly due to the shift in production from 4.7GB single layer discs to 8.5GB dual layer discs.
The global supply of DVD+R/-R discs currently exceeds global demand, but the oversupply will begin to diminish next quarter and largely decrease or even disappear in the fourth quarter of this year, according to Ritek CEO Gordon Yeh, who spoke at a press conference following the company's 2006 shareholder meeting on June 14.

Although global DVD+R/-R demand is estimated to grow from four billion discs in 2005 to six billion discs this year, fast expansion of production around the world has resulted in the current oversupply, Yeh pointed out. But because leading makers of DVD+R/-R discs are shifting part of their production capacity for 4.7GB (single-sided single-layer) discs to making 8.5GB DL (single-sided double-layer) discs, the global oversupply is being reduced, Yeh indicated.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Samsung sent out a press release this morning, announcing that their first Blu-ray player, the BD-P1000, has shipped to retailers and will be available on June 25th.

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. announced today that the industry's first Blu-ray disc player has been shipped to retailers in the U.S. market for availability on June 25th. The Samsung Blu-ray disc player (BD-P1000) has been eagerly awaited by consumers anticipating the opportunity to view High Definition discs on their existing HDTVs. Blu-ray is the next generation disc format which offers close to five times the resolution of conventional DVDs making it the highest picture quality available on the market. The format is supported by many of the leading movie studios, including Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) and LionsGate Pictures which will release Blu-ray content this month. The innovation marks the latest technology breakthrough brought to market by Samsung and further underscores the brand commitment to offering consumers the ultimate home theater experience.
If you have an extra $999.99 laying around, you can preorder a BD-P1000 today. More information can be found here. Add a comment
While Sony's own Blu-ray player has been pushed back until August, the company is moving ahead, releasing their first seven BD titles on June 20th.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) will launch the first slate of Blu-ray Disc (BD) titles in just one week, on June 20, 2006. 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 June 20 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 Samsung BD-P1000 hitting store shelves on June 25th, its going to be up to VAIO owners to buy these initial titles. If you'd like to read more, Sony's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
While the first Blu-ray titles are set to launch on June 20th, has reported that Sony and Pioneer have decided to push back the release dates for their Blu-ray players.
Sony has revealed that its BDP-S1 Blu-Ray disc player will now be launching in mid-August, and not later this month as previously suggested - with electronics giant Pioneer also announcing a delay for its own player.

According to the Sony Style website, the BDP-S1 will now ship "on or about August 15, 2006." The USD 1000 player was originally given a June 30th launch date, which was later changed to July.

Pioneer has also abandoned the proposed June release date for its BDP-HD1 player, apparently due to interoperability issues. It will now launch in September at a price point of USD 1500 - a drop of USD 300 from the MRP originally suggested.
Samsung is still scheduled to launch its Blu-Ray player on June 25th. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
CDRLabs has taken an in depth look at Plextor's new 18x DVD±RW, the PX-760A. This highly anticipated drive features some of the fastest reading and writing speeds available. The PX-760A is capable of 18x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 10x DVD+R DL and 6x DVD-R DL writing speeds and has a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. It also supports many of the features we've come to expect from Plextor, including a number of more advanced technologies like GigaRec, Q-Check and AUTOSTRATEGY.

In this review we'll take a look at the features found on the PX-760A and see how it compares to some of the DVD±RW drives from the competition. Are 18x DVD±R writing speeds enough to put the PX-760A on top? You'll have to read the review to find out.

Plextor PX-760A 18x DVD±RW
As usual, if you have any comments or questions about this review or the Plextor PX-760A, please post them in the forum using the link provided below.
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It appears that BenQ is following in the footsteps of Plextor and Samsung with their own series of 18x DVD±RW drives. According to the Japanese website, PC Watch, the company had three 18x DVD±RW drives on display at Computex. Along with internal (DW1800) and external (EW180B) models, BenQ plans to introduce a drive with support for LightScribe (DW1805) technology.

The article also mentions that BenQ has a Serial ATA drive (DW180S) in the works. However, it was not on display at Computex. At this time, not much is know about these drives. As we find out more, we'll let you know. In the mean time, PC Watch's Computex report can be found here. Add a comment