Verbatim sent out a press release today, announcing their new archival grade DVD-R media. Featuring Verbatim's Dual Reflective Layer and VideoGard technologies, these new discs promise to deliver high levels of durability and longevity without sacrificing compatibility.
Verbatim Corporation and its parent company, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (Verbatim/MKM), announced today a breakthrough in archival media technology that will provide government agencies, organizations and end users with highly compatible, super long life DVD media for storing critical data and preserving precious memories. The new technology, which has been submitted for patent protection, is based on the company's new Dual Reflective Layer technology. Verbatim will leverage this unique technology to deliver superior 8x speed DVD-R archival-grade media in Q2 2006.

With the new Dual Reflective Layer technology, Verbatim's archival-grade DVD-R media delivers substantially higher durability than standard DVD-R discs and provides the same level of excellent read/write compatibility that users have come to expect from Verbatim media. For added protection against scratches and abrasion, the new archival-grade DVD-R media features Verbatim/MKM's innovative VideoGard(TM) technology. The VideoGard protective coating on the disc surface makes it 40 times more resistant to damage.
No word on price yet. However, Verbatim expects to ship their new archival grade DVD-R media during the second quarter of this year. More information can be found here. Add a comment
If you're heading to CeBIT, you might want to stop at the booth for InterVideo and Ulead as the two companies will be demonstrating their latest Blu-ray authoring, burning, navigation and playback software.
InterVideo, Inc. (Nasdaq:IVII - News) and its partner Ulead Systems, Inc. (TSE:2487 - News), industry leaders in video, image and DVD software, today announced that they will demonstrate Blu-ray (BD) authoring, burning, content navigation and playback software at their CeBIT Booth #B36 in Hall 22. As active members of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), InterVideo and Ulead BD products will also be featured at the BDA Press Conference, Room 1A in the CeBIT Convention Center.

"InterVideo and Ulead share a common vision of bringing BD solutions to consumers and making them easy to use," said Steve Ro, CEO and president of InterVideo and chairman of Ulead Systems. "Through our collaboration, we are leveraging the synergy of Ulead's advancements in HD-DVD technology and InterVideo's strengths in Blu-ray technology. Because our areas of expertise complement one another, they are helping us accelerate the development of complete, easy-to-use applications that will set the pace for next-generation DVD technology."
If you'd like to read more about Intervideo's and Ulead's new Blu-ray products, their entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
BenQ Europe has officially announced their first first "Trio" writer, the BW1000. Along with support for Serial ATA, the BW1000 supports the CD, DVD and BD formats.
BenQ, a leading manufacturer of digital lifestyle devices, today announced its first "Trio" writer BW1000, a triple writer that encompasses BD, DVD and CD format support, which saves you from making any compromises among these technologies. BenQ BW1000 supports all Blu-ray Disc formats at 2X read and write, as well as the interface of the future - Serial ATA, which secures the data bandwidth while playing back high-definition contents, even for the most dynamical scenes. With BenQ's BW1000, users can easily transfer high-definition home videos and art works to BD-R and BD-RE media, either 25GB or 50GB version, to share and store premium contents with convenience.

BenQ BW1000 features revolutionary SolidBurn and Write Right technologies. SolidBurn automatically learns and optimizes the writing settings for recordable media and makes over-speed writing feasible and stable, delivering stunning drive intelligence to help users write any media at the desired speed. BenQ's Write Right technology provides thorough protection during the writing process, which includes Seamless Link (for buffer-under run protection), dynamical jitter calibration (for real-time writing quality consistency) and Walking-OPC (for real-time writing power compensation) features.
No word on pricing or availability yet. As we find out more, we'll let you know. In the mean time, more information can be found on BenQ Europe's website. Add a comment
While LG has been a long time supporter of Blu-ray, Reuters has reported that the company will also support the competing format, HD DVD.
LG Electronics, one of the world's biggest optical drive makers, will support HD DVD as well as Blu-ray in the emerging war over the next DVD standard, it said on Wednesday.

Until now LG Electronics was firmly in the Blu-ray camp, together with most of the other big consumer electronics firms such as Sony Corp, Philips, Dell and Matsushita's Panasonic.
Most likely this ties into LG's plans to introduce a combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Droppix has announced that they've released Droppix Label Maker Deluxe 2.0. This new version of the software supports both Lightscribe drives and Direct-to-Disc printers and has the ability to automatically import CD-Audio information.
Droppix today announced the release of Droppix Label Maker Deluxe 2.0, an advanced new solution for CD and DVD label authoring. Droppix Label Maker Deluxe puts a professional CD and DVD personalization solution at users' fingertips. Its powerful graphics module lets users create professional quality labels quickly and easily. Droppix Label Maker includes a variety of label templates and background images, logos, and fonts that for use in projects in addition to the users' own images and photos. In addition, Droppix Label Maker Deluxe can print labels in a series, each with a unique serial number, and can be configured to automatically import information from any audio CD, playlist or database. Droppix Label Maker Deluxe is fully compatible with LightScribe technology from Hewlett Packard and can also be used with any desktop printers.
More information on Droppix Label Maker Deluxe 2.0 can be found here. Otherwise a 30-day trial version can be downloaded from the Droppix website. Add a comment
TDK has announced that in the process of restructuring their media business, they've decided to stop manufacturing their own recordable CD's and DVD's.
TDK Corporation (NYSE:TDK - News) announced today that the board of directors decided at the board meeting held on March 8, 2006, to further accelerate the restructuring of recording media business, to withdraw from the manufacturing of recordable CD&DVD products in TDK group. Consequently, TDK decided to shut down the production facilities at its European subsidiary, TDK Recording Media Europe in Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The shut down is planned to take place at the end of May 2006. This decision completes TDK's withdrawal from the manufacturing of recordable CD & DVD products, coupled with the reorganization of plants in Chikumagawa area (Nagano, Japan) implemented at the end of last year.

TDK Corporation and its group companies (hereinafter called "TDK") have been fundamentally restructuring the recording media business during this fiscal year. While reviewing the progress of the restructuring and future strategies of the recording media business, TDK has looked for ways to re-strengthen the manufacturing of recordable CD&DVD foundations from various perspectives. However, a sharp drop in market prices of recordable CD&DVDs as well as the increased cost of natural resources has led the recording media business in TDK to serious problems. After studies of measure for re-strengthening manufacturing, the decision of withdrawal from the manufacturing of recordable CD & DVDs that TDK management has made should lead to an improvement and reform of recording media business to change fundamentally the business model.
Keep in mind that TDK plans to contine to sell CD and DVD media. Instead of manufacturing their own, they'll buy it from a third party. If you'd like to read more, TDK's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Nero released a new version of Nero 7 yesterday afternoon. There still is no change log. However, this new update brings the version count up to If you'd like to check it out, the update can be downloaded here or via BitTorrent. As usual, feel free to share your experiences in our forum. Add a comment
Sony Europe has announced that they will start shipping their Blu-ray Disc media this month. Surprisingly enough, their single-layer BD-RE media is expected to be available by mid-March.

Sony Europe's Recording Media & Energy (RME) division today announced that its first Blu-ray Disc media will ship in Europe in March 2006. Single-layer BD-RE (Blu-ray Disc Rewritable) media will be available in store from mid March and single-layer write-once BD-R (Blu-ray Disc Recordable) media will be available from April. Sony is also set to launch dual layer discs later this year.

The single-layer Blu-ray Disc Recordable (BNR25A) and Blu-ray Disc Rewritable (BNE25A) media offer a storage capacity of 25GB, more than five times that of a normal DVD and enough for approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes of video at a bit rate of 24Mbps, or 10 hours and 30 minutes at 5Mbps.1 The new generation media support 2X speed which equates to a data transfer rate of 72 Mbps (9 MB/s), making the discs suitable for video recording as well as data storage and file backup. In addition, Sony's Blu-ray Disc media will feature its unique AccuCORE technology as standard, ensuring reliable data recording, increased disc protection and enhanced durability.
If you'd like to read more, Sony's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
If you're thinking about getting a Blu-ray or HD DVD drive for your computer, you're probably going to want to get an HDMI compliant graphics card, especially if you plan to watch movies in these formats. If that's the case, you might want to check out Sapphire's new HDMI/HDCP compliant graphics card, the Radeon X1600Pro HDMI.

Leading graphics supplier Sapphire Technology has just confirmed it will be the first company to offer HDMI compatible versions in its latest series of graphics accelerators to be previewed at CeBit 2006. The Sapphire Radeon X1600Pro HDMI card is scheduled for availability in April and will deliver both audio and video to HDMI compliant displays and televisions.

The X1600 series has been designed to deliver high efficiency, high performance in Shader Model 3.0 and enhanced image quality. The architecture also supports AvivoTM delivering vibrant high fidelity images and video playback to the latest High Definition (HD) video standards. The new HDMI version is a low profile PCI Express card which supports HDCP and delivers exciting new levels of display performance and quality over this new industry standard connection interface. Two versions provide for either an external SPDIF or internal cable to be connected so that the audio signal is delivered over the HDMI cable.
No word on price yet. However, the Sapphire Radeon X1600Pro HDMI is expected to ship in April. If you'd like to read more, Sapphire's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
TDK Europe has announced that they've started shipping their 25GB BD-R and BD-RE media. Here's part of their press release:
TDK, a world leader in digital recording solutions, announced that it is to begin shipping 25GB recordable and rewritable Blu-ray Disc (BD) media across Europe and will follow with 50GB media in April. A pioneer of blue laser recording technology and founding member of the Blu-ray Disc Association, TDK is the first to market with bare Blu-ray Disc media.

Recommended Retail Pricing is set at 15 Euro for a 25GB BD-R (write once), 20 Euro for a 25GB BD-RE (rewritable), 35 Euro for a 50GB BD-R (write once) and 45 Euro for a 50GB BD-RE (rewritable). Expect to see the first BD media on shelves from April 06, in line with the first BD hardware availability.
As you can see, Blu-ray Disc media definitely isn't cheap, especially the dual layer, 50GB discs. If you'd like to read more, TDK's entire press release can be found here.< Add a comment