Sony sent out a press release this afternoon, announcing their upcoming Blu-ray Disc based products. Along with their first Blu-ray Disc player, the BDP-S1, Sony plans to offer both desktop and notebook computers equipped with Blu-ray Disc drives. Sony has also provided some information on their new internal Blu-ray writer, the BWU-100A.

The BWU-100A, an aftermarket internal Blu-ray Disc drive for computer use, will support recording of 25GB and 50GB BD-R (write once) or BD-RE (rewritable) discs at 2X max speed. It is capable of burning a full 25GB disc in about 30 minutes. The drive will also support recording of standard single layer 4.7GB DVD+R/+RW, Double/Dual Layer 8.5GB DVD+R, DVD-RAM and CD-R/-RW media, making it a true all-in-one "tri-mode" recorder/reader.

The new drive can be installed in a standard half-height computer bay with a parallel ATAPI (P-ATA) interface. Comprehensive authoring software will be included for capturing, editing, and burning high-definition personal content captured by an HDV format camcorder, keeping the video in native 1080i HD format for playback on a Blu-ray Disc player. Video can also be "down-converted" to standard-definition (SD) resolution for burning onto a DVD disc.
While Sony plans to ship the BDP-S1 Blu-ray Disc player and the VAIO RC desktop computer in July, we have not heard when the BWU-100A will be available or how much it will cost. As we find out more, we'll let you know. In the mean time, Sony's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
For the second year in a row, Verbatim has been named the "leading supplier of recordable CD and DVD media worldwide" by the Santa Clara Consulting Group.
Verbatim Corporation announced today that for the second year in a row it has been named the leading supplier of recordable CD and DVD media worldwide by the Santa Clara Consulting Group (SCCG). The Group's 2005 CD and DVD reports show that Verbatim and its parent company, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM), not only maintained the Number One position worldwide but also increased global market share of recordable CDs and DVDs. Their worldwide dominance in the DVD media markets was evident in the report's Unit Shipments section, which lists Verbatim/MKM shipments of recordable DVD media in 2005 as 531.249 million—23.3 percent more than its nearest competitor.

Of the five DVD formats tracked in the report, DVD-R was the most significant DVD format in 2005 with 59 percent of DVD recordable disc sales. Verbatim/MKM leads the global DVD-R market with a 17.01 percent market share for all of 2005.
While I'm a big fan of Verbatim's media, I must admit that I am a little surprised by some of these numbers. I kind of expected Ritek to be top supplier of media as they are one of the largest manufacturers. In any case, Verbatim's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Ciba sent out a press release late yesterday, announcing that they've filed a lawsuit against RiTEK and its European subsidiaries. The lawsuit claims that RiTEK's CD-R media infringes upon Ciba's patented CD-R dye technology.
Ciba Specialty Chemicals has filed a patent infringement suit in Germany and the Netherlands against RiTEK Corporation and its European subsidiaries Conrexx Technology B.V. (also known as Traxdata), RME Manufacturing GmbH, RiTEK Media Europe, and PrimeDisc Technologies GmbH. Ciba claims that RiTEK and its named subsidiaries import and sell RiTEK-manufactured CD-R which infringe Ciba's patented CD-R dye technology. Ciba IRGAPHOR Ultragreen is globally recognized by the industry as the optical dye of choice for CD-R manufacturing known for high quality and consistency. "We will not tolerate that our technology is illegally copied and counterfeit products are spread in the market. Therefore we are carefully and continuously monitoring the media market. We are prepared to vigorously defend our intellectual property and will not hesitate to take legal action against infringers", a Ciba spokesperson said.
It's going to be interesting to see what happens. If you'd like to read more, Ciba's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Memorex announced today what they call "the world's first shareable, flash-based USB storage media." Combining USB technology and low-density flash memory, the Memorex FlashDisc is easy to use and affordable enough to share.

Memorex, the leading retail provider of digital media in North America, today announced the availability of the world's first shareable, flash-based USB storage media. The Memorex FlashDisc offers a high-capacity alternative to the floppy diskette and low-cost alternative to personal USB flash drives, bringing to market a re-useable storage medium that's simple for anyone to use and affordable enough to share. The versatile FlashDisc combines low-density flash memory chips - encased in lightweight but protective plastic - with a USB connector and protective cap, creating a cost-effective way to share files, photos or music with co-workers, classmates, family and friends.

The USB-compatible Memorex FlashDisc is an easy way to share data between any PC or Mac with a USB port. At 2.3 inches in diameter and 0.3 inches high, the FlashDisc's thin, round design is durable and portable like a floppy diskette, yet delivers more than 10 times the capacity. Each FlashDisc can store up to 400 text documents, 10 presentations, 40 digital photos or 15 minutes of music. Simply plug the Memorex FlashDisc into any computer's USB port to save, delete, rewrite and share files using the easy drag and drop process - without requiring software or a special drive. Unlike USB flash drives, the Memorex FlashDisc is sold in multi-packs that can be purchased for the office, classroom or home. For easy identification of contents, each FlashDisc comes with a write-on adhesive label. Additionally, each package of FlashDiscs sports a mix of color schemes to allow for color-coding of files; combinations include black and red, black and blue, and black and yellow.
The Memorex FlashDisc is available now at Best Buy and cost $19.99 for a pack of three. If you'd like to read more, Memorex's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Earlier this week, LG confirmed that they are working on a combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player. If things go as planned, the player could ship later this year.
Korea's LG Electronics Inc. said on Tuesday it planned to launch a next-generation DVD player that will bridge the yawning gap between two competing formats by playing both HD DVD and Blu-ray.

"LG is a supporter of Blu-ray and is now considering a dual format player for later this year," said John Taylor, a U.S. spokesman for the Korean company.

Both Blu-ray, developed by a Sony Corp -led consortium, and HD DVD, championed by Toshiba Corp , offer more capacity than current DVDs, but the groups' failure to reach a unified front has paved the way for a costly battle in the $24 billion home video market, like the VHS/Betamax war of 25 years ago that caused widespread customer confusion.

Korean LG Electronics last week became the second high-profile Blu-ray supporter after Hewlett-Packard to announce it would also support HD DVD.
If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
According to an article at Reuters, TEAC and Pioneer have agreed to work together to develop DVD drives for laptops.
TEAC Corp. said on Wednesday it and electronics maker Pioneer Corp. had agreed to co-develop recordable DVD drives for laptop computers, in the latest move by Japanese electronics makers to counter the tough price competition in the industry.

TEAC, a maker of floppy disk and CD-ROM drives, said in a statement the two companies will work on the details of the agreement and would also consider expanding their ties to other areas.
I thought TEAC and Pioneer had signed this agreement months ago, but I guess not. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
As many of you know, Toshiba plans to ship their HD DVD players later this month. Unfortunately, it looks like movie studios will not be shipping HD DVD titles in time for the launch date.
Warner Home Video, the only studio that in January had set a firm date, March 28, for its first high-definition DVD titles to arrive in stores, now says it might not be ready in time because of technical problems.

"To be honest, the outlook is tenuous -- we're still coming out with an initial slate, but we may be a week or two later; we just don't know," division president Ron Sanders said.
Needless to say, I would not rush out and buy an HD DVD player as it will be a few weeks before you'll be able to buy any movies in the new format. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Verbatim Australia sent out a press release this morning, announcing their new inkjet printable 16x DVD-R and DVD+R media.
Verbatim Corporation, the market leader in premium-quality printable media, has announced the immediate availability of their white inkjet printable 16X DVD+/-R media. The discs feature a matte white printable surface and fast drying times with ultra-reliable, high-speed recording technology and broad read compatibility.

With the ability to record at about 21 MB/sec, these high speed Verbatim DVD discs can store 4.7GB of video, photos, music or data files in about five minutes. Verbatim has worked closely with verification authorities and leading drive manufacturers to produce this high-performance DVD media, certified for 1-16X DVD writing.

The key component in achieving 16X speed DVD media that delivers optimum performance, superior quality and the broadest compatibility is the proprietary recording layer technology developed by Verbatim, Advanced AZO. By using the proven dye technology incorporated in its 8X DVD media as the platform for the new, more sensitive Advanced AZO technology, Verbatim engineers not only achieved 16X write speed, they ensured that the new media will maintain backward compatibility with existing DVD recorders and 1-8X DVD burners.
Verbatim's inkjet printable 16x DVD media is available now in 50 pack spindles for a recommended retail price of $42.95. A 100 pack spindle of DVD+R media will also be available in April for about $79.95. More information can be found here. Add a comment
AVS Media has announced the release of the world's first freeware Blu-ray compliant burning software, AVS Disc Creator 2.1. Here's part of their press release:
Online Media Technologies Ltd., the owner of the project proudly announces the release of AVS Disc Creator 2.1 freeware, the first and the only one free CD/DVD/BD-compliant burning software at the today's international market of multimedia solutions. AVS Disc Creator 2.1 freeware now demonstrates the complete support of Blu-ray disc media (BD-R, BD-RE) burning. As a member of BDA (Blu-ray disc Association) Online Media Technologies Ltd. implements the upcoming Blu-ray technologies in AVS Disc Creator freeware and its other software delivering tomorrow's high-tech multimedia.

As distinct from other standard burning solutions for its extended list of supported disc types (CD-R/RW, DVD+/-R, DVD+/-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD+/R, Double/Dual Layer), AVS Disc Creator 2.1 now enables you to burn your data on high-capacity BD discs that considerably saves your storage costs and enhances the protection of your important data. So, you can take full advantage of storing your data in the highest possible quality due to the unique BD data capacity of 25 or 50 GB per disc.
AVS Disc Creator 2.1 can be downloaded here. Otherwise, more information can be found on AVS Media's website. Add a comment
Today CDRLabs takes a long overdue look at Lite-On's 16x DVD±RW, the SHW-1635S. While affordably priced, the drive features some pretty impressive specs. The SHW-1635S 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. Lite-On's drive also includes features like 48x CD reading and writing speeds, 24x rewriting speeds, and support for their SMART-BURN and SMART-X technologies.

In this review we'll take a look at some of the features found on the SHW-1635S and see how it compares to some of the 16x DVD±RW drives from the competition. Does the SHW-1635S have what it takes? You'll have to read the review to find out.

Lite-On SHW-1635S 16x DVD±RW
As usual, the Digital Dolphin has gone the extra mile when it comes to media testing. If you have any comments or questions about this review or the Lite-On SHW-1635S, please post them in the forum by clicking the link below.
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