Fastmac sent out a press release today, announcing the first and only 2x Blu-ray optical drive for Mac laptops. This slot loading drive read and writes to single and dual layer Blu-ray discs at 2x and is backwards compatible with standard CD and DVD media.
Fastmac today announced the first & only 2X Blu-Ray optical drive upgrade for Apple's PowerBook, iBook & MacBook Pro computers. The new slimline, slot loading drive uses the fastest & most compatible Blu-ray mechanism available to provide up to 50 GB of storage on 1 disk, without sacrificing compatibility with standard DVD & CD recordable media...

...Fastmac's slimline Blu-ray slot loading optical drive supports reading, writing and re-writing to single and dual layer Blu-ray media at up to 2x speeds. The drive is also compatible with standard DVD and CD media and can write to DVD-R and DVD+R media at 8x speed in single layer and up to 2.4x speed in dual/ double layer mode. It can rewrite to DVD-R and DVD+R media at 4x speeds. The drive also supports DVD-RAM reading and writing at up to 5x speeds and standard CD-R and CD-RW burning at 8x speeds.
While Fastmac's 2x Blu-Ray optical drive upgrade won't ship for another month or so, you can pre-order it from for a special introductory price of $999.95. More information can be found here. Add a comment
Lite-On has reportedly received additional OEM orders from Microsoft for more Xbox 360 DVD-ROM drives. According to DigiTimes, Lite-On has given top priority to Microsoft's orders and will be increasing production to more than one million Xbox 360 DVD-ROM drives a month.
In light of better than expected sales of Halo 3, Microsoft has decided to strongly promote sales of Xbox 360 consoles during the traditional peak period prior to Christmas and therefore has placed additional OEM orders, the sources explained.

To meet Microsoft's urgent demand, Lite-On IT has allocated production capacity solely for turning out one million Xbox 360 DVD-ROM drives a month, the sources pointed out. But the capacity is still not enough, and thus Lite-On IT has dedicated additional capacity, the sources indicated. However, the situation has conflicted with Lite-On IT's production of PC-use ODDs, the sources noted.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Sonic and Pioneer announced today that they have begun a joint licensing program for CSS recording. With this new program, the two companies hope to make it easier to for content distributors as well as media and drive manufacturers to bring managed recording products to market.
PioneerCorporation, a leading global manufacturer of consumer and business-useelectronics products, and Sonic Solutions(R), the leader in digital mediasoftware, have begun a worldwide joint licensing program of patents andother related IP for the encryption and burning of video content torecordable DVD media for playback on DVD players. To respond to consumerand industry interest in "electronic sell-through" of video content and tofacilitate the adoption of secure download and burn applications inaccordance with the approved industry specifications for recordingdownloads set by the DVD Forum and the DVD Copy Control Association,Pioneer and Sonic have established a royalty-bearing licensing program thatwill be administered by Sonic under the Qflix(TM) name. The program willbroadly license the companies' combined intellectual property that allowsDVD recording technologies to use CSS (Content Scramble System), which isthe same content protection found on commercially released DVD movies.
If you'd like to read more, the entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Hitachi had a prototype of their new 4 layer 100GB BD-R disc on display at CEATEC JAPAN 2007. Unlike the 100GB discs being developed by TDK and Panasonic, Hitachi believes that, by modifying the firmware, theirs can be read back by most existing drives.

Hitachi has developed a prototype four layer Blu-Ray disc capable of holding 100GB of data.

While companies such as TDK and Panasonic have previously mooted 100GB discs, they have always needed a specially developed optical head in the player to read the disc.

Hitachi, however, claims to have used a standard Blu-Ray drive optical head that's only slightly modified to allow it to read and write data across the four 25GB layers. It's believed this will only require a firmware update to make existing drives compatible.
Hitachi is also working on an 8 layer disc that can hold 200GB of data. However, they've had problems with reflections decreasing the signal strength across the eight layers. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
While Japan's optical disc manufacturers have been turning out recordable Blu-ray and HD DVD media for some time, those in Taiwan are still reluctant to invest in large-scale production of blue-laser discs. According to DigiTimes, the conservative attitude is primarily due to high royalty fees and the fear that the cost of production equipment may drop considerably in the future.
CMC Magnetics and Ritek, the top two Taiwan-based producers of optical discs, as well as Prodisc Technology, a second-tier maker, are unwilling to invest in large-scale production of either Blu-ray Disc (BD) or HD DVD discs, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

The disc manufacturers are reluctant to invest in blue-laser disc production because royalty fees are high and there is the possibility that the cost of production equipment may drastically drop in the future, noted the sources, adding that it is still uncertain which standard will become mainstream.
The article also points out that CMC and Ritek are producing HD DVD and Blu-ray media. However, in very limited amounts. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment