According to Akihabara News, Samsung plans to ship two new Blu-ray burners in April. The internal SH-B022A and external SE-B026A both feature 2x BD and 12x DVD recording speeds.

Samsung Electronics announed the release of an internal (SH-B022A) and external (SE-B026A) Blu-Ray burner for April 2006. These 2 innovating drives allow you to store up to 50GB onto a dual layer disc. These 3-in-1 drives (BD, DVD, CD) offer HD video burning and reading at a 2x speed (9MB/s)...

...These innovating products offer an unseen storage capacity: 25GB on a single layer disc and 50GB on a dual layer disc. These triple-format drives can read and record on BD, DVD and CD. They offer a 2x speed for BD, 12x for DVD and 40x (for the internal SH-B022A) or 32x (for the external SE-B026A) for CD.
According to our contacts at Samsung , these drives will NOT be coming to the US. Instead, the company plans to wait for their upcoming 4x BD writer. If you'd like to read more, head on over to Akihabara News. Add a comment
Those of you waiting for Blu-ray will want to mark May 23rd on your calendar. This is the date Sony has set for the launch of their first Blu-ray Disc titles.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is targeting May 23 to deliver the first wave of Blu-ray Disc (BD) titles at retail, it was announced today. Delivery will coincide with the launch that day of the first commercially available BD player from Samsung Electronics, which will be followed shortly by BD players from Pioneer and Sony along with a BD compatible VAIO PC from Sony.

SPHE and MGM Home Entertainment will first release eight BD titles, with another eight following shortly June 13. Benjamin S. Feingold, president, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, made the announcement.

The first Blu-ray Disc titles from SPHE and MGM Home Entertainment will include: 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, A Knight's Tale, The Last Waltz (MGM), Resident Evil Apocalypse and XXX.
The second phase of the Blu-ray rollout will begin on June 13th and will include titles such as Kung Fu Hustle, Legends of the Fall, Robocop, Stealth, Species, SWAT and Terminator. According to various sources, the suggested retail price will range from $30-$40, depending on whether or not the title is a new release. If you'd like to read more, Sony's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Sony and NEC have announced that they've signed an agreement forming a new joint venture, Sony NEC Optiarc Inc. The two companies will spin off their respective optical disc drive businesses on April 1 and transfer them to the joint venture on April 3.
Sony Corporation ("Sony") and NEC Corporation ("NEC") announce today that they have signed a definitive agreement to establish a joint venture company, Sony NEC Optiarc Inc., in carrying out optical disc drive business. Shinichi Yamamura, currently Deputy President of Video Business Group of Sony, will serve as the president of the new company. Sony and NEC will separate their respective optical disc drive businesses on April 1, 2006 in preparation for creating this joint venture. The planned date of establishment of Sony NEC Optiarc Inc, is April 3, 2006 and it will take over the two separated businesses in creating one company.
This newly formed venture is expected to be the world's second-largest optical disc drive maker, topped only by Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDS). If you'd like to read more about the joint venture, Sony's press release can be found here. Add a comment
Samsung America has officially announced their new LightScribe capable DVD writer, the SH-W162L. Along with support for LightScribe, the SH-W162L can write to dual layer media at 8x.

Samsung Electronics Ltd., the worldwide digital consumer electronics and information technology leader, announces its fastest dual layered DVD recorder. The new SH-W162L is a unique LightScribe(TM), enabling 16X DVD re-writeable drive with 8X dual speed recording.

LightScribe technology is embedded in the DVD drive and lets users engrave labels, photos, and designs right onto the CD and DVD discs with no hassle at all. The result is a professional look with no worries about labels falling off or sloppy marker smudges. The drive's label making software is pre-loaded with an array of designs and labels for users who choose not to create their own label.
According to Samsung's press release, the SH-W162L is shipping now for an estimated street price of $70. More information can be found here. Add a comment
Verbatim has announced that they've added glossy 52x CD-R and 16x DVD+/-R discs to their already extensive line of inkjet printable media. Here's part of their press release:
Verbatim Corporation, the market leader in premium-quality printable media, announced today a new family of glossy white inkjet printable 52X CDR and 16X DVD+/-R media. The new discs combine a shiny white printable surface and fast drying times with ultra-reliable, high-speed recording technology and broad read compatibility. With Verbatim's unique glossy media, users can make their recordings look distinctive with vibrant, full-color images and crystal-clear text. The next generation of photo and video storage media were unveiled at the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) Convention which began here yesterday.
Verbatim's glossy white inkjet printable media is expected to ship in April and will cost $19.99 for a 20-pack of CD-Rs or $24.99 for a 20-pack of DVDRs. If you'd like to read more, their entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Here's some good news for those waiting for 8x DVD-R DL media. According to RW PPI representative director, Koki Aizawa, the media is expected to go into volume production during the second half of 2006.
The RW PPI (Re-Writable Products Promotion Initiative) under the DVD Forum based in Japan is carrying out its M8 test plan to facilitate volume production of 8x DVD-R DL (single-sided double-layer) discs and the corresponding burners/recorders, according to RW PPI representative director Koki Aizawa at the organization's round robin test seminar held in Taipei on February 23. Aizawa expects volume production of both 8x DVD-R DL discs and devices to begin in the second half of the year. The round robin test seminar, was sponsored by the Taiwan Recording-media Industries Association (TRIA) and took place in Taiwan for the third time.
The article also mentions that the RW PPI is working to improve the compatibility between recording/playback devices and DVD-R, DVD-R DL and DVD-RW discs. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Roxio has announced that they've released MyDVD 8 Premier. This new version features a number of improvements including a new, refined user interface and Hollywood-style authoring tools.
Roxio, a division of Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ: SNIC), the leader in digital media software, today released MyDVD 8 Premier, which introduces significant enhancements including advanced video editing capabilities and authoring tools, high-quality transitions and effects, customizable menu templates, and support for high definition (HD) video. MyDVD 8 Premier will have particular appeal to the tens of millions of existing MyDVD users looking for more creative control and greater authoring flexibility.
MyDVD 8 Premier is available now for $69.99. More information on this software can be found here. Add a comment
Consumable Media LLC has announced a new limited play DVD called BuyByeDVD. Expected to hit retail this summer, this recyclable movie DVD can be played up to 3 times before expiring.
Consumable Media LLC, a Minnesota-based corporation, has announced that it plans to release its new restricted-use optical disc product in summer 2006. The premiere form the product will be introduced in is the DVD format. Known as BuyByeDVD, the product will feature movie content on familiar DVDs, but can only play up to three times before expiring. The product works in all DVD, computer, and gaming console drives.

"We envision this product changing the DVD landscape for the next several years," stated Consumable Media team member Scott Litman. "This product will fill the media void that we are experiencing between traditional DVD and digital file transfer."

The BuyByeDVD looks and functions nearly the same as any ordinary DVD, but only allows up to three plays. The company believes that this technology will change the business model for DVD, where it will now be possible for consumers to acquire their movies in a similar model to Pay-Per-View at a price point that is more reasonable than buying the entire version of the movie. In addition, the product is recyclable.
From what I can gather, BuyByeDVD uses a dye that is irreversibly bleached by a DVD player's laser. The BuyByeDVD is expect to hit store shelves this summer for a suggested retail price of $3.99. If you'd like to read more, Consumable Media's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
The DVD Forum held their 33rd Steering Committee meeting earlier this week. Among other things, the group approved the specs for dual layer HD DVD-R and HD DVD-RW media. Here are some of the highlights from the meeting:
  • Approval of "DVD Specifications for High Density Recordable Disc for Dual Layer (HD DVD-R for DL) File System Specifications, Version 1.9"
  • Approval of "1) DVD Specifications for High Density Re-recordable Disc (HD DVD-RW) Physical Specifications, Version 0.9
    2) DVD Specifications for High Density Re-recordable Disc (HD DVD-RW) 1x-speed Optional Specifications, Revision 0.9"
  • Approval of "1) DVD Specifications for High Density Re-recordable Disc for Dual Layer (HD DVD-RW for DL) Physical Specifications, Version 1.9
    2) DVD Specifications for High Density Re-recordable Disc for Dual Layer (HD DVD-RW for DL) 1x-speed Optional Specifications, Revision 0.9"
  • Approval of "HD DVD-VR (Video Recording) Product Requirement & Guideline, Version 1.0"
  • Approval of "Logo/Mark for DVD-RW for DL"
  • Approval of "The RPC subcommittee's Request to SC:
    -The RPC subcommittee to request input from studios regarding current and anticipated use of DVD-Video RPC system.
    -The RPC subcommittee to request input from VPC regarding marketplace data regarding multi-region products.
    -The RPC subcommittee to communicate with DVD CCA regarding RPC enforcement.
    -The RPC subcommittee to consider possible change to region code map."
If you'd like to read more, the Steering Committee's entire list of resolutions can be found here. here. Add a comment
Sonic has announced that they've released the CinePlayer Platform. This new playback engine supports the most digital media types and can be used to deliver interactive content via the internet.
Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ: SNIC), the leader in digital media software, the leader in digital media software, today released the CinePlayer Platform, a comprehensive digital media playback "engine" to support virtually any digital media type - music, photos, videos, and web-delivered interactive content. The CinePlayer Platform has two key advantages: first, it allows Sonic's personal computer and consumer electronics partners to tailor a wide variety of digital media offerings based on a common underlying playback engine; this makes it easier and more cost effective for them to test, release and revise their products. Second, the CinePlayer Platform combines playback from DVDs (including Blu-ray disc and HD DVD) with web-delivered content such as advertising, merchandising promotions and bonus material; this allows for attractive new models of advertising, promotion and content distribution. The CinePlayer Platform ships in key OEM channels later this week.
Great, yet another way companies can bombard us with ads. If you'd like to read more, Sonic's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment