CyberLink has announced that they've expanded their product range for next-generation disc burning with the release of PowerBackup and InstantBurn.
Following the successful demonstrations with leading Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD partners at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, CyberLink has released archiving software PowerBackup 2.5 and packet-writing solution InstantBurn 5. The announcement adds to CyberLink's recent retail release of data burning solution Power2Go 5.

"Next-generation disc formats Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD significantly increase the amount of data that users can store to disc, including content such as high-definition video," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink. "With our recent success at CES we have demonstrated not just a commitment to these two disc formats, but our ability to provide ready solutions for OEM and retail customers alike."
PowerBackup 2.5 and Power2Go 5 are available now and can be purchased through CyberLink's website. More information on both programs can be found here. Add a comment
According to DigiTimes, Philips' latest lawsuit against Taiwanese media manufacturer DST was sent back for retrial.
Taiwan's Supreme Court recently sent back for retrial by Taiwan's High Court a civil lawsuit filed by Royal Philips Electronics against Taiwanese manufacturer Digital Storage Technology (DST) for violating licensing agreements for CD-R discs. Philips will review the decision and then make an appeal, according to the Taiwan Office of Philips Intellectual Property & Standards.

DST, which produces CD-R, CD-RW and DVD-R discs, signed a license agreement with Philips in July 2001 to use CD-R patents at a royalty charge of US$0.06 per disc. Due to intense competition, DST defaulted on the royalty payments resulting in Philips taking legal action against the Taiwanese maker. Philips won the lawsuit at a district court and Taiwan's High Court but lost in DST's appeal to the Supreme Court.
One thing I've learned over the years is that you don't mess with Philips, especially when it comes to royalty fees. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Pioneer Japan has officially announced their new DVD Multi drive, the DVR-A11. Available in three colors, the DVR-A11 features 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD±R DL and 5x DVD-RAM writing speeds.

Pioneer Corporation announced today its new internal DVD multi writers with ATAPI interface for Windows-based PCs - the DVR-A11-J (pure white), DVR-A11-JBK (black), and DVR-A11-JSV (silver). The new DVD drives, employing the company's newly-designed Disc-Resonance Stabilizer, assure stable write and read operation with high accuracy. At the same time, they realize impressively quiet operation even during high-speed rotation owing to Pioneer's proprietary technologies including honey-comb structure.

Pioneer's new DVD drives support the recording and playback of recordable discs in seven DVD formats (DVD-R, Dual Layer DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD+R, DVD+R Double Layer, and DVD+RW) as well as CD-R and CD-RW discs. The new drives offering industry-leading write speeds realize the high speed recording of max. 8x on single-sided double-layer DVD formats (Dual Layer DVD-R and DVD+R Double Layer).
No word on pricing yet but according to Pioneer's press release, the DVR-A11 will be available in Japan in early March. More information, including a full list of specs, can be found here. Add a comment
To prevent an oversupply of DVD+R/-R discs, Moser Baer India (MBI) has annouced that they are halting plans to expand manufacturing capacity for CD-R and DVD+R/-R discs.
India-based Moser Baer India (MBI), a leading global manufacturer of optical discs, last week announced halting capacity expansion for CD-R and DVD+R/-R discs, a move that will avoid a potential oversupply of DVD+R/-R discs, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

MBI will not add manufacturing equipment but plans to convert part of its existing CD-R production lines into those for DVD+R/-R discs, the sources pointed out, adding that MBI also plans to step into production of photovoltaic modules in the third quarter of this year.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
heise online has reported that the AACS LA has failed to come to agreement concerning the final specs for the new Advanced Access Content System (AACS). According to the article, this delay could push back the release of both HD DVD and Blu-ray products by at least a month.
Last Friday, the meeting of the AACS LA was to resolve the final specifications of the new Advanced Access Content System (AACS). But insiders are reporting that no such agreement was reached. Instead, it is said that an important member of the Blu-ray Disc Association is still voicing concerns about the interaction of AACS and the additional BD+ protection for Blu-ray movies. The next meeting is scheduled for February 23rd and 24th.

Without the AACS specification, the copy protection keys that manufacturers of drives and media need cannot be produced. For instance, manufacturers such as NEC, Pioneer, Samsung, and Toshiba are eagerly awaiting the specifications so they can implement AACS in their equipment.
Let's hope that they can come to some sort of agreement at the next meeting. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
The guys at CD Freaks have put together a review of NEC's new "Super-Multi" drive, the ND-4550A. Here's what they had to say about it:
The NEC ND-4550A being a so called "Multi Recorder" and supports recording on currently available media formats (CD-R/CW, DVD+R/+RW/+R DL and DVD-R/-RW/-RAM/-R DL).

The NEC ND-4550A can write CD-R/RW media with excellent/very good quality, and can write those media types at high speed. DVD±R/RW writing quality is good with most media, and once again the NEC ND-4550A can burn the media fairly quickly.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to CD Freaks and check out their review. Want a second opinion? Our review of the ND-4550A can be found here. Add a comment
Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology (TSST) issued a bulletin on Friday, warning people that some of their older drives are not compatible with the new 6X, 8X, 12X and 16X DVD-RAM2 media. If used, the drive may hang up or eject the media while it is spinning at 1600 rpm.
New DVD format specifications, entitled "DVD-RAM 6X/8X/12X/16X," were recently established by the DVD Forum. Media meeting the new DVD-RAM formats will be available in the near future.

Conventional DVD-RAM discs supported up to 5X speed (Class0: standard writable speed 2X). New DVD-RAM format discs will support 6X, 8X, 12X and 16X speed (Class1: standard writable speed 6X), which could enable faster recording.

It is recommended that you playback or record data on new DVD-RAM format discs with optical disc drives labeled as compatible with such new DVD-RAM format media (such as those bearing the following "RAM2" mark).
Before trying DVD-RAM2 media, I highly recommend checking the list on TSST's website to see if your drive is subject to these issues. Add a comment
Plextor America has officially announced their new 18x DVD±RW, the PX-760A. Here's part of their press release:

Plextor Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, today announced the PX-760A DVD±R/RW CD-R/RW drive. The multifunction internal drive is aimed at professionals and power PC users who require reliability, lightning-fast performance, and premium recording features.

The PX-760A is a versatile DVD/CD burner that delivers state-of-the-art recording speeds of 18X DVD±R on certified 16X DVD±R media. Users can burn up to four hours of high-quality MPEG-2/DVD video on a single 8.5 GB disc using 10X DVD+R on Double-Layer media and 6X DVD-R on Dual Layer media. The drive also supports 8X DVD+RW and 6X DVD-RW Rewriting; 16X max DVD-Reading; and 48X CD-R Writing, 24X CD-RW Rewriting, and 48X max CD-Reading. DVD±VR is supported for direct disc recording, while DVD+RW background format eliminates the need to manually format a DVD+RW disc.
The PX-760A is expected to ship in April for suggested retail price of $119.00. More information on Plextor's new drive can be found here. Add a comment
Sony has released some details on their new "Super-Multi" drive, the DRU-820A. This new drive features 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+R DL, 4x DVD-R DL and 5x DVD-RAM writing speeds. Here are some of the drive's specs:

Writing Speeds:

DVD+R: 2.4X, 4X, 6X CLV, 8X ~ 12X P-CAV max., 16X CAV
DVD+RW: 2.4X, 4X, 6X CLV, 8X Z-CLV
DVD+R DL: 2.4X, 4X, 6X CLV, 8X Z-CLV
DVD-RW: 2X, 4X, 6X CLV
DVD-R DL: 2X, 4X
CD-R: 8X ~16X CLV, 32X P-CAV, 40X ~ 48X CAV
CD-RW: 4X ~ 10X CLV, 24X ~ 32X CAV

Read Speeds:

DVD-ROM: 16X Max
CD-ROM: 48X Max

Access Times:

CD-ROM: 135ms
DVD-ROM: 130ms

Buffer Size: 2MB
The DRU-820A is already showing up at Best Buy stores and is reportedly based on the BenQ DW1670. If your local Best Buy store doesn't have the DRU-820A in stock yet, the drive can be purchased through for $79.99 after a $20 mail-in rebate. Add a comment
DigiTimes has reported that CMC Magnetics recently invested NT$500 million (US$15.6 million) in Prodisc Technology, making them the largest institutional shareholder. According to the article, the investment will form a strategic alliance between the two companies.
CMC Magnetics, the largest producer of optical discs in Taiwan, on February 10 announced an additional investment of NT$500 million (US$15.6 million) in Prodisc Technology, Taiwan's third largest maker of optical discs, to increase its stake ratio to 11.93%, making it Prodisc's largest institutional shareholder.
What's interesting is that CMC's biggest competitor, Ritek, also has a stake of nearly 5% in Prodisc. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment