Ulead has announced a new version of their DVD MovieFactory software. According to their press release, DVD MovieFactory 5 is the first consumer disc authoring software to support high-definition video discs.
InterVideo, Inc. (Nasdaq:IVII - News) and its partner Ulead Systems, Inc. (TSE:2487 - News), industry leaders in video, image and DVD software, today announced the latest version of Ulead DVD MovieFactory 5. New features that have been added to the company's consumer DVD authoring package include easy disc authoring, an expanded range of creative options and future-ready support for both the HD DVD and Blu-ray disc formats.

With support for the new high-definition formats, users will enjoy the amazingly sharp images that high-definition video provides while making a giant leap in storage capacity.
DVD MovieFactory 5 will be available in retail stores and at www.ulead.com for USD 49.99 starting in late March. More information can be found here. Add a comment
CE Pro has reported that LG recently dropped the BD199 Blu-ray player from its spring lineup and is considering a combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player.
The memo states that the dual-format player is planned for late summer/early fall, and came about as a result of the uncertainty of the looming next-gen DVD format battle. "In light of uncertainty in this early stage of the market for pre-recorded high-definition optical discs, we have decided not to introduce the BD199 as originally planned for this spring," it says.
I'm not sure how LG is going to pull off a combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player. From what I understand, various licensing hurdles prevented Samsung from developing their own. Then again, with LG signing a patent deal with Toshiba, this might change. If you'd like to read more, head on over to CE Pro. Add a comment
According to an article at DigiTimes, Taiwan's CD-R manufactuers are not happy with Philips' Veeza licensing system. While Veeza cuts royalty charges, they system is hard to implement and is not enforced in countries like China and India.
Royal Philips Electronics' promotion of its Veeza licensing system for CD-R disc patents to Taiwanese optical disc manufacturers has been frustrated for the time being because none of the makers are willing to join it due to an overly-high royalty burden as well as unfair competition and exposure of business confidentiality issues, according to industry sources.
If you'd like to read more, additional the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Ricoh has announced that they've started shipping samples of their BD-R and HD DVD-R media to hardware manufacturers. Thanks to Ricoh-developed inorganic recording materials, these new discs offer high reliability when both reading and writing.

Ricoh Co., Ltd has developed recordable disks for Blue-ray Disk and HD DVD, the next-generation DVD formats, and starts shipping samples to hardware manufacturers.

The samples to be shipped are BD-R and HD DVD-R, write-once disks for Blue-ray Disk and HD DVD respectively. They have a capacity of 25 GB (BD-R) and 15 GB (HD DVD-R), approximately three to five times that of current disks.

By employing highly sensitive inorganic recording materials and high-precision stampers newly developed for next-generation recordable DVDs, Ricoh was able to achieve high reliability when writing and reading data. This will provide an advantage in further speed increases and multilayer structures.
Ricoh plans to ship their newly developed BD-R and HD DVD-R to consumers by the end of the year. More information can be found here. Add a comment
As we reported yesterday, CMC Magnetics reported a fire at one of their manufacturing facilities. While the fire damaged one of their smaller plants, it accounts for 10% of CMC's overall CD-R capacity which could worsen an already tight CD-R supply.
The optical disc maker said the plant, located at Yangmei, Taoyuan County, is a relatively smaller plant. Although CMC stressed that the plant's structure, equipment, and goods are fully insured, sources said CMC's monthly capacity will be reduced by about nine million units due to the fire.

The plant accounted for 10% of CMC's overall CD-R capacity and CMC's CD-R discs mainly support demand from major international brands, the sources stated. Since it takes at least three months to have CD-R discs validated, second-tier makers will not be able to absorb those orders and major competitors Ritek and Prodisc Technology will be the indirect beneficiaries of the fire, the sources indicated.
Needless to say, you can expect CD-R prices to rise next quarter. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
NVIDIA has announced the availability of their new PureVideo technology. With PureVideo, H.264 decoding tasks are divided between the GPU and CPU, offering a smoother frame rate and better image quality than with a CPU alone.
NVIDIA Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA), the worldwide leader in programmable graphics processing technologies, today announced the immediate availability of new NVIDIA PureVideo technology enabling comprehensive support for high-definition video including hardware acceleration for content based on the advanced H.264 specification.

H.264, which is also known as the Advanced Video Codec (AVC) specification or MPEG-4 Part 10, is one of the digital video codecs specified for the Blu-ray (BD) and High Definition DVD (HD DVD) formats. H.264 delivers two to three times the compression efficiency of the MPEG-2 standard, which is used to create current DVD videos. H.264 has been adopted by both the DVD Forum for HD DVDs and the Blu-ray Disc Association for Blu-ray Discs, and VC-1 has also been adopted by the DVD Forum for HD DVDs.
NVIDIA PureVideo with H.264 support is available now and can be downloaded from their website. Otherwise more information on the technology can be found here. Add a comment
CyberLink has announced that they will be showcasing their new next-generation disc and digital TV solutions at CeBIT later this month. Here's part of their press release:
CyberLink Corp. (TSE:5203.TW - News), a leader in Digital Home solutions, today revealed its product line-up for CeBIT 2006, including software for burning and playing high-definition Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD content, products for sharing media within the digital home, premium content protection, and a world cup digital TV solution.

"As one of the world's preeminent IT events, CeBIT is a great opportunity to demonstrate how our latest next-generation disc and digital home solutions can greatly enhance the user experience for video and TV on the PC," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink. "We offer easy-to-implement software that handles the key user requirements for digital home entertainment--recording, playing, and sharing--using sophisticated technology that we've developed over years of experience in this area."
If you'd like to read more, CyberLink's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Maxell Japan has announced that they will be the first company to ship 12x DVD-RAM media. Here's part of their press release, translated from Japanese using Babelfish:

The Hitachi マクセル corporation (president: The Akai period man), conform to new standard DVD-RAM Version 2.2/12x-SPEED DVD-RAM Revision 5.0 standard the DVD-RAM RAM2 for the data of 6 - 12 time stenography record From March 24th for the first time * we sell the disk, in the world. マクセル individual new high-speed BCM (Bismuth Coupling Material: The bismuth coupling material) the phase change record membrane was adopted, worldwide most speed * 12 time stenography record was actualized as a transfer type DVD disk. It is enabled with high-speed correspondence DVD-RAM drive of 6 time speeds or more which have inscription.
Maxell's 12x DVD-RAM media will ship on March 24th and is expected to cost about 1,000 Yen ($8.61US) per disc. If you'd like to read more, the entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Bad news for CMC Magnetics. DigiTimes has reported that one of their smaller plants was damaged in a fire.
The optical disc maker said the plant, located at Yangmei in the northern county of Taoyuan, was established in 1999, and is only one of the smaller plants of the company's facilities. CMC stressed that the plant's structure, equipment, and goods are fully insured. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, the company added.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
According to the German website heise online, Sony has stopped development of its own variant of the Blu-ray format, Professional Disc For Data (PDD). Instead, the company plans to focus on the regular Blu-ray format. Translated from German:
Sony will not develop its memory system further Professional Disc for DATA ( PDD). The PDD is a professional version Blu ray of the Disc and stores 23 GByte on a cartridge Disc. The first drive assemblies came in the middle of 2004 on the market and should offer Plasmons Ultra Density Optical ( UDO) Paroli. According to own data Plasmon as well as HP holds however a market share of 95 per cent with the professional optical LIBRARIES. Udo media store 30 GByte on two sides. Their 5,25-Zoll-Cartridges is compatible to MO media and can be integrated thus into existing MO LIBRARIES - an advantage, which customers have obviously more estimated than the comparatively higher transfer rates of the PDD.
While Sony will not release new versions of PDD, the company will continue to sell the drives through 2007 and offer technical support until 2014. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment