Nero has officially announced the release of their free Nero Digital Audio encoding software. This command line utility will take your .WAV files and encode them using the MP4 format.
Nero, the leaders in digital media technology, today announced that the Nero Digital Audio reference quality MPEG-4 audio encoding software is now available free of charge via download from the company's website ( Fully compatible with the latest MPEG-4 audio standard (LC-AAC, HE-AAC and HE-AAC v2), the 3GPP-compatible software enables users to store an entire audio album in a single .mp4 file with the best audio quality available.

A simple text-based command-line interface ensures that Nero Digital Audio is compatible with any existing audio software that consumers may already be using. Every file saved in the Nero Digital Audio codec will have advanced content management built into it, including support for CD-audio index maps, embedded album art and ReplayGain.
If you'd like to check it out, the Nero Digital Audio encoding software can be downloaded here. Otherwise more information is available on Nero's website. Add a comment
Sony DADC has announced that they've started producing Blu-ray Discs in the US. According to their press release, they currently have three replication lines turning out 25,000 Blu-ray Discs a day.
Sony DADC today officially inaugurated Blu-ray Disc BD-ROM (video, games, data) production in the U.S.

Sony DADC in the U.S. currently has three Blu-ray replication lines functioning with a capacity of 25,000 single-layer 25GB Blu-ray Discs per day, for a total of 750,000 Blu-ray Discs per month. This capacity is expected to increase to nearly 5 million discs per month by October as additional lines are added to the facility. Of these additional lines, six will be capable of manufacturing 50GB dual layer Blu-ray Discs.
Wow, that's a lot of Blu-ray discs. If you'd like to read more, Sony DADC's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Sony sent out a press release this morning, announcing their new Blu-ray equipped notebook computer, the VAIO AR. Along with support for Blu-ray, the VAIO AR Premium features a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 17" widescreen display and NVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 graphics card.

Sony today took the wraps off the world's first Blu-ray Disc enabled notebook computer-- the VAIO AR which will be available this summer.

Part of a series, the VAIO AR comes in two different configurations: Premium and Standard. The AR Premium version plays Blu-ray Disc high-definition content, so you can enjoy movies in full 1080p HD resolution. The notebook has a17-inch WUXGA (1920 x 1200) widescreen display and uses Sony's XBRITE Hi-Color LCD technology.

For those who prefer to watch content on a larger screen, the AR model also has an HDMI connector and included cable that connects to high-definition televisions for a larger viewing experience.

In addition to supporting HD playback, the VAIO AR notebook is a multimedia powerhouse with the capability to record high-definition camcorder content to Blu-ray Discs. Now aspiring moviemakers can shoot, edit and burn their HD creation on a PC -- all in native 1080 resolution.
As you can imagine, all this doesn't come cheap. According to Sony's press release, the VAIO AR Premium will cost about $3,499. More information can be found here. Add a comment
DigiTimes has reported that CMC Magnetics recently received certification for their 4x DVD-R DL media. According to the article, they are the first Taiwanese manufacturer to do so.
CMC Magnetics, the largest producer of optical discs in Taiwan, recently obtained certification from international vendors for 4x DVD-R DL (single-sided double-layer) discs, the first among Taiwanese makers and the second in the world next only to Japan-based Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM), according to industry sources.
The article also mentions that due to cost considerations, Verbatim/MKM may release OEM orders for 4x DVD-R DL discs to CMC. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. has announced that their 25GB single layer Blu-ray Disc media will hit the US market in June. Here's part of their press release:
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of the leading global imaging and information technologies company, today announced that Fujifilm-branded Blu-ray media would be available in the U.S. marketplace this June.

Increasing data volume on personal computers and the steady, continuing growth of high definition (HD) television has accelerated consumer demand for higher capacity optical recording devices for storing all this digital data. The Fujifilm Blu-ray discs will be available with 25GB storage capacity, in both write-once (BD-R) and re-writable (BD-RE) formats, which can be used in Blu-ray drives with 1-2X writing speed.
If you'd like to read more, Fuji's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Vanguard Disc is reportedly closing their doors for good. According to DigiTimes, the company could no longer compete in the CD-R disc market and failed to shift to DVD-R production.
Vanguard originally produced CD-R discs, with a monthly capacity of 8-10 million discs. About two years ago, the company began to switch to DVD-R production. However, the company said that it terminated all production about a month ago because it can't compete profitably against the low prices offered by CD-R makers in China and India amid rising material costs, and its shift to the production of DVD discs has not been smooth. Vanguard is now seeking buyers for its manufacturing equipment and is set to terminate operations.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
According to DigiTimes, Lite-On has scrapped their own Blu-ray drive designs and will instead use those developed by BenQ. Like many of BenQ's other drives, these will be based on Philips technology.
Lite-On IT plans to start volume production in July of this year of half-height (H/H) Blu-ray Disc (BD) optical disc drives (ODDs) based on technology from Royal Philips Electronics as a result of the company taking over BenQ's ODD unit, according to industry sources.

The H/H BD drive models had been originally developed by BenQ's ODD unit and Lite-On IT has taken over the development, including the use of technology from Philips that was licensed to BenQ, the sources pointed out. Lite-On IT is expected to take control of BenQ's ODD business in June of this year.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
BHA has announced that they've released new versions of B's Recorder GOLD8 and B's CLiP6 that support Windows XP x64 Edition. These updates are free to registered users of the software.
B.H.A Corporation (BHA) released today B's Recorder GOLD8 and B's CLiP6 versions that support Windows XP x64 Edition. The updaters that add support to B's Recorder GOLD8 and B's CLiP6 are available online to registered users free of charge. OEM versions are also available to drive vendors for bundling.

The Windows 64-bit Edition has evolved from being a platform for high-performance work stations and servers at the time of its release to one that can be used on home computers too with the release of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition operating system. As the demand for software that support this platform grows, BHA has answered user needs by releasing the 64-bit Editions of its flagship B's Recorder GOLD8 CD/DVD burning software and B's CLiP6 CD/DVD packet-writing software. The latest updaters add Windows XP x64 Edition support for existing users and are available free on the BHA website.
More information, including links to the updates, are available on BHA's website. Add a comment
Plextor Europe has officially announced the Serial ATA version of the PX-760A, the PX-760SA. The company also announced the launch of their new 52/32/52 CD-RW, the PlexWriter Premium2.

Following on from the recent successful launch of Plextor's PX-760A ATAPI/IDE DVD-RW drive into the market, the company today announces the Serial-ATA version - PX-760SA. This 18x drive is the World's fastest Serial-ATA DVD-ReWriter on the market, capable of 18x DVD+R and 10x DVD+R DL speeds, and is designed to take advantage of the latest motherboard connections within modern PCs.

Separately, Plextor is also launching the next model in its Premium range - PlexWriter Premium2. This fast drive not only offers 52x read/write and 32x re-writing speeds, but also includes a large 8MB buffer which is useful when multi-tasking to ensure there is no data interruption
The PX-760SA and PlexWriter Premium2 will ship in June. More information on both drives can be found here. Add a comment
BenQ Japan sent out a press release earlier today, announcing their new "Super-Multi" drive, the DW1670. Here's part of their press release, translated from Japanese:
BenQ Japan Ltd. will put "BenQ DW1670" that becomes a new model of the storage product on the market in the middle of May. "BenQ DW1670" is made by the Philips BenQ Digital Storage company that is a joint enterprise of BenQ and the Philips Co.. That can correspond also to DVD-RAM Valuable data can be recorded in DVD and CD without reserve as the kind of the media format doesn't worry in record type DVD drive corresponding to the CD/DVD all formats. DVD±R The record speed of DVD±R DL media was improved besides a high-speed record of 16 X speed or less was achieved at 88.64Mbit or less/second (eight X speed). Moreover, BenQ original air cooling function【Dual Cooling System(DCS)】 high-speed to record, and to emanate heat that reads and generates high speed in Toki is installed, generation of heat in the drive is suppressed to effective, and deterioration in the record quality can be prevented.
While the bulk, or OEM, version of the drive will hit store shelves on May 12th, the retail version won't ship until June. More information, including a list of specs, can be found here. Add a comment