According to DigiTimes, NEC is offering their DVD burners for less than $30 on the European market. The catch is that they don't come with any burning software.
NEC has offered its own-brand DVD burners without burning software for sale in the European market at an average price of below US$30, lower than the US$33-35 quoted by Taiwanese OEM makers, according to Taiwanese makers of optical disc drives (ODDs).

DVD burners without burning software are not packaged for retail sale and thus 10-20% cheaper than DVD burners of the same models for retail sale, the sources pointed out. DVD burners that don't include burning software are generally supplied to international and regional PC brands but sometimes available for sale through retail channels, the sources indicated.
The article also mentions that NEC may be trying to clear out their inventory before Sony NEC Optiarc goes into operation. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Today, CDRLabs takes an in depth look at Samsung's new LightScribe enabled "Super-Multi" drive, the SH-S162L. Sporting some pretty impressive specs, the SH-S162L is capable of 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+R DL, 4x DVD-R DL and 5x DVD-RAM writing speeds and a maximum DVD read speed of 16x. Along with support for LightScribe, the SH-S162L also includes features like 48x CD reading and writing speeds, 32x rewriting speeds, and a software bundle from Nero.

In this review we'll take a look at the features found on the SH-S162L and see how it compares to some of the "Super-Multi" drives from the competition. Does the SH-S162L have what it takes? You'll have to read the review to find out.

Samsung SH-S162L 16x DVD±RW/RAM
If you have any comments or questions about this review or the Samsung SH-S162L, please post them in the forum by clicking the link below.
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TDK sent out a press release this morning, announcing that Pioneer Electronics is bunding their 25GB Blu-ray Disc media with the BDR-101A.

TDK, a world leader in digital recording solutions, today announced that Pioneer Electronics is bundling TDK Blu-ray Disc media with the Pioneer BDR-101A Blu-ray Disc drive, the world's first commercially available Blu-ray Disc writer. Each BDR-101A includes TDK's 25GB Blu-ray Disc media, the ideal media for recording high-definition video and archiving large amounts of data. Featuring TDK's DURABIS hard coating technology, TDK's Blu-ray Disc media is setting new standards in recording and playback by offering unprecedented capacities, fast transfer rates and revolutionary durability.

"Pioneer is very pleased to include TDK Blu-ray Disc media with our BDR-101A Blu-ray Disc drive," said Andy Parsons, Senior Vice President at Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. "The high performance recording solution represented by combining the BDR-101A and TDK's rewritable Blu-ray Disc media puts Pioneer's customers on the cutting edge of optical disc technology."
We already have TDK's BD-R and BD-RE media in the 'Labs and will be using it in our upcoming Blu-ray drive reviews. If you'd like to read more, TDK's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Pioneer Electronics has announced that they've started shipping their first PC based Blu-ray Disc drive, the BDR-101A. Here's part of their press release:

Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. is now shipping the industry's first Blu-ray Disc (BD) computer drives. The new Pioneer BDR-101A will change the way digital and high-definition media are stored by increasing disc capacity and performance capability. By utilizing shorter wavelength blue lasers, the BDR-101A can burn up to 25 gigabytes (billion bytes) of information on a single layer Blu-ray Disc.

The BDR-101A will be bundled with Sonic Solutions'(R) Roxio(R) Blu-ray Disc software and blank media by TDK that will enable end-users to store data and recorded content.

Blu-ray Disc is an ideal format for storage and distribution of high definition content. "As we move deeper into the transition to high-definition content creation and distribution, increasing storage capacity will become more and more critical," said Andy Parsons, senior vice president at Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. "Blu-ray Disc technology fulfills the rapidly growing need for additional storage space and Pioneer is proud to be one of the first companies bringing it to market through the BDR-101A."
The retail version of the BDR-101A comes with a software bundle from Sonic and BD-RE media from TDK. More information can be found here. Add a comment
Here's an interesting bit of news. According to, the HD-DVD drive for the Xbox will be priced so that it and the console combined will be cheaper than Sony's Playstation 3.
Currently, the Xbox 360 retails at GBP 279 in the UK, with the Core System version selling for GBP 209, while the 60GB model of the PlayStation 3 is expected to cost between GBP 399 and GBP 419 when it arrives in late November.

Microsoft's alleged comments to UK retailers seem to suggest that the HD-DVD peripheral, which allows playback of high definition movies using Toshiba's next-generation DVD standard, will be priced below GBP 130, making an Xbox 360 and HD-DVD player bundle into a potentially attractive option at Christmas.
Keep in mind that they're comparing the cheaper Xbox 360 core system and the high end, 60GB PS3. For those on a budget, the 20GB PS3 will still probably be the way to go. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Panasonic has announced that they will be incorporating DivX support into two of their DVD recorders, the DMR-EH55S and DMR-EH75VS. Along with the ability to play back DivX files, both players feature an HDMI interface and the ability to upconvert to 1080i.
Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company and DivX, Inc., the digital entertainment company that created the DivX media format, announced today that Panasonic will incorporate the DivX codec into two of its 2006 DVD-Recorders. The DMR-EH55S DVD-Recorder with HDD and the DMR-EH75VS DVD-VHS-HDD Recorder bring a range of popular functionality to consumers, including the playback of DivX encoded video files.

Both models feature HDMI single cable connection with up-conversion to 1080i. The Panasonic DMR-EH55 is a DVD recorder with a 200 GB built-in hard disc drive, SD slot and DV Input. The Panasonic DMR-EH75 is a combo VHS-DVD recorder deck with an 80GB built-in hard disc drive. They provide very versatile solutions to users who want extreme flexibility in the formats they use for content delivery.
If you'd like to read more, Panasonic's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Sonic Solutions has announced that their Roxio Roxio BD software is being bundled with Pioneer's new Blu-ray Disc writer, the BDR-101A. Here's part of their press release:
Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ: SNIC),the leader in digital media software, broke new ground today shipping its Roxio BD software with the first commercially available Blu-ray Disc drive from Pioneer Electronics. The release ushers in a new era in optical disc recording, making possible for the first time the backup of up to 25GB of data on a single layer BD-R (recordable) or BD-RE (rewritable) disc, as well as image-to-disc recording and the archive and playback of hours of high-definition video content. The software and hardware combination will enable a range of applications including professional pre-mastering, high-definition authoring and high-capacity storage.

"We are pleased to partner with Sonic as we continue our tradition of delivering breakthrough technologies in the optical disc market, from our introduction of LaserDisc products more than 25 years ago to today's introduction of the first Blu-ray Disc Drive," said Andy Parsons, senior vice president at Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. "Sonic's software has helped establish and grow the market for CD and DVD creation and has made them the clear leader in their field. Given the depth and breadth of our joint experience, this effort by our two companies bodes well for the future success of this exciting next-generation optical format."
If you'd like to read more, Sonic's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Nero has officially announced the release of their free Nero Digital Audio encoding software. This command line utility will take your .WAV files and encode them using the MP4 format.
Nero, the leaders in digital media technology, today announced that the Nero Digital Audio reference quality MPEG-4 audio encoding software is now available free of charge via download from the company's website ( Fully compatible with the latest MPEG-4 audio standard (LC-AAC, HE-AAC and HE-AAC v2), the 3GPP-compatible software enables users to store an entire audio album in a single .mp4 file with the best audio quality available.

A simple text-based command-line interface ensures that Nero Digital Audio is compatible with any existing audio software that consumers may already be using. Every file saved in the Nero Digital Audio codec will have advanced content management built into it, including support for CD-audio index maps, embedded album art and ReplayGain.
If you'd like to check it out, the Nero Digital Audio encoding software can be downloaded here. Otherwise more information is available on Nero's website. Add a comment
Sony DADC has announced that they've started producing Blu-ray Discs in the US. According to their press release, they currently have three replication lines turning out 25,000 Blu-ray Discs a day.
Sony DADC today officially inaugurated Blu-ray Disc BD-ROM (video, games, data) production in the U.S.

Sony DADC in the U.S. currently has three Blu-ray replication lines functioning with a capacity of 25,000 single-layer 25GB Blu-ray Discs per day, for a total of 750,000 Blu-ray Discs per month. This capacity is expected to increase to nearly 5 million discs per month by October as additional lines are added to the facility. Of these additional lines, six will be capable of manufacturing 50GB dual layer Blu-ray Discs.
Wow, that's a lot of Blu-ray discs. If you'd like to read more, Sony DADC's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Sony sent out a press release this morning, announcing their new Blu-ray equipped notebook computer, the VAIO AR. Along with support for Blu-ray, the VAIO AR Premium features a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 17" widescreen display and NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 graphics card.

Sony today took the wraps off the world's first Blu-ray Disc enabled notebook computer-- the VAIO AR which will be available this summer.

Part of a series, the VAIO AR comes in two different configurations: Premium and Standard. The AR Premium version plays Blu-ray Disc high-definition content, so you can enjoy movies in full 1080p HD resolution. The notebook has a17-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200) widescreen display and uses Sony's XBRITE Hi-Color LCD technology.

For those who prefer to watch content on a larger screen, the AR model also has an HDMI connector and included cable that connects to high-definition televisions for a larger viewing experience.

In addition to supporting HD playback, the VAIO AR notebook is a multimedia powerhouse with the capability to record high-definition camcorder content to Blu-ray Discs. Now aspiring moviemakers can shoot, edit and burn their HD creation on a PC -- all in native 1080 resolution.
As you can imagine, all this doesn't come cheap. According to Sony's press release, the VAIO AR Premium will cost about $3,499. More information can be found here. Add a comment