According to an article at DigiTimes, BenQ recently announced that the company plans to splitting down the middle, seperating its own-brand and IMS businesses.
BenQ announced that it has decided to separate its own-brand and IMS (integration manufacturing and service) businesses, with the IMS segment to become independent in 2007, while BenQ to focuses on BenQ Mobile Business Group (BMG) and Digital Media Business Group (DMG) for its own-brand business, according to KY Lee, chairman and CEO of BenQ, at an investors conference on August 24.

The company has been evaluating the move for two years and decided to separate its own-brand business from IMS since the branding businesses of BenQ and BenQ-Siemens have reached economies of scale, Lee said.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Here's an interesting bit of news. CNET Australia has reported that the version of Windows Media Player included with Windows Vista will not play back Blu-ray nor HD DVD movies.
The version of Windows Media Player that will ship with Windows Vista won't include playback support for either Blu-ray or HD DVD movie titles.

"In box we have the Microsoft VC1 decoder...but in order to do playback [of Blu-ray and HD DVD titles] you will need a third-party player such as...PowerDVD from Cyberlink," Mark O'Shea, OEM Systems Engineer for Microsoft Australia told

VC-1 is a Microsoft-developed video codec adopted by many movie studios as the video standard for their commercial HD DVD and Blu-ray titles.
I can't say I'm surprised. The current version of Windows Media Player doesn't play back standard DVD movies without drivers from a 3rd party either. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
CDRLabs has taken an in depth look at Pioneer's new Blu-ray Disc writer, the BDR-101A. Designed with professional users in mind, the BDR-101A can store up to 25GB of data or more than two hours of HD video onto single layer BD-R and BD-RE media. Pioneer's new drive can also be used to play Blu-ray Disc movie titles and is backwards compatible with standard DVD media, offering 8x DVD±R, 4x DVD±RW, 2.4x DVD+R DL and 2x DVD-R DL writing speeds.

In this review we take a look at some of the features found on the BDR-101A and then see how it performs. Is Pioneer's new Blu-ray Disc writer in your future? You'll have to read the review to find out.

Pioneer BDR-101A Blu-ray Disc Writer
As usual, if you have any comments or questions about this review or the Pioneer BDR-101A, please post them in the forum by clicking the link below. Add a comment
Associated Content has put together an interesting article comparing Blu-ray and HD DVD. Instead of examining video quality or disc capacity, they look the two formats from the perspective of a DVD author.
Once again I have to give the nod to Blu-ray Disc. There are basic technology aspects as stated above, but from an authoring standpoint, there are advantages to working with BD over HD DVD. Granted there are not currently a lot of authoring tools available. With the exception of Sonic Solutions, there are not any HD DVD/BD authoring applications on the market as of July 2006. That's bound to change in the next 6-12 months, but for now, most HD DVD and BD titles are being hand jammed, a process more akin to software development than DVD authoring. When fully implemented authoring programs do become available, it will soon become clear why BD is better.
This is definitely an interesting read. If you'd like to check it out, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
BCCHardware has put together a review of Plextor's Serial ATA 16x DVD±RW, the PX-755SA. Here's a sample of what they had to say:
On the plus side, this drive is ready for SATA only motherboards. Did I mention this drive is quiet? Even with silent mode turned off this drive is significantly quieter than the PX-716AL. The asthetics of the drive are pleasing and the tray functions graceful. This drive did everything I threw at it and proved it's a decent reader, especially at reading damaged audio discs. As with most other Plextor drives, this one is picky about media and for good reason. Professional drives require professional quality discs. You do get what you pay for and with Plextor you get a lot of extra fine tuning features that other drives don't.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to BCCHardware and check out their review. Add a comment
The guys over at CD Freaks have put together a review of Panasonic's first Blu-ray Disc writer, the SW-5582. Here's what they had to say:
The Panasonic SW-5582 is able to read and write the latest media generation, Blu-ray Discs, offering a huge 25 to 50GB of data which is needed for high definition video materials or high capacity data storage. Our tests show that the drive has no compatibility issue with all kinds of BD-R and BD-RE media we've tested. The drive also produces very good write quality on DVD+R/-R and DVD+RW/RW media we tested. From the Kprobe scans we can see that error levels are low and read back curves (Transfer Rate tests) are smooth. The Panasonic SW-5582 was able to burn CD-R media with very good quality given the low error levels shown by our Kprobe scans.
We received a SW-5582 a few months ago. Unfortunately, it was DOA and we still have not received a replacement. The good thing is, we have a number of other Blu-ray writer reviews on the way. In the mean time, head on over to CD Freaks and check out their review of the SW-5582. Add a comment
DigiTimes has reported that manufacturers of blue-laser DVD players and recorders could be facing a shortage of pick-up heads in the fourth quarter of this year.
The production of blue-laser pick-up heads (PUHs) by only a few makers, including Pioneer, Philips, Hitachi and Sony, is insufficient to meet increasing global demand for blue-laser DVD players, recorders, drives and burners, and the shortage is expected to be significant in the fourth quarter of this year, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

Although the global market for next-generation blue-laser drives, burners and players/recorders is still in its infancy, international vendors of desktop and notebook PCs as well as consumer electronics have placed OEM orders for such products to test the market during the traditional peak season next quarter, the sources indicated. The Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3, with a built-in Blu-ray Disc drive), which is scheduled to be launched in November, accounts for part of the demand, the sources noted.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
BCCHardware has put together a review of Plextor's latest "Super-Multi" drive, the PX-750A. Here's a sample of what they had to say:
Overall, I'm extremely impressed with this drive from Plextor. While it may not be the fastest unit on the plant, in testing it has been rock solid. If this is the drive that begins to bring Plextor back to the forefront of the "King of Quality", this is a good start. We had absolutely no issues with this drive during testing and the benchmarks above reflect our experience. It's not 100% perfect in our tests as it does have some slowdowns when reading disks, but it bounces back up and finishes in top form.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to BCCHardware and check out their review. Want a second opinion? Our review of the PX-750A can be found here. Add a comment
Reuters has reported that the EU's antitrust officials are already looking into the licensing strategies used by Blu-ray and HD DVD. According to the article, the EU wants ot make sure that the licensing terms do not break their competition rules.
European Commission antitrust officials are probing the licensing strategies of two rival new generation DVD developers, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, the EU executive said on Thursday...

...The Commission wants to know whether the licensing terms of the DVD formats could break European Union competition rules, but it said this was not the start of a formal investigation.
Once the EU receives more information, it could decide to open a formal investigation or drop the case. More information can be found here. Add a comment
Thomson sent out a press release this morning, announcing that the next-generation DVD manufacturing and distribution capabilities of its Technicolor Home Entertainment Services business are in place and operational.
Technicolor Home Entertainment Services' next-generation DVD replication lines are installed at the company's worldwide headquarters in Camarillo, Calif. The company has three HD DVD replication lines, and three Blu-ray Disc replication lines, in place to meet early studio and consumer requirements. In addition, Technicolor Home Entertainment Services has installed dedicated, state-of-the-art mastering and testing equipment for both of these new formats in its Advanced Media Development Center in Camarillo. This facility also houses complete printing, custom packaging, and distribution facilities to support North American retail operations. The company plans to add future capacity for both formats in different geographies to meet projected demand, and to satisfy the ongoing needs of studio and independent right holder customers.
If you'd like to read more, Thomson's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment