Thanks to Reuters, we've learned that Sony is the first major studio to announce pricing for its upcoming Blu-ray disc titles.
Sony Pictures on Tuesday became the first major studio to put a price tag on Blu-ray discs when they become available in U.S. stores this year.

At the same time, the studio unveiled what many observers believe will be a key component of the next-generation, high-definition optical disc's marketing strategy: bundling various formats together to give consumers more flexibility and mobility.

Catalog Blu-ray disc titles will wholesale for $17.95, about the same as DVDs when that format hit the market in 1997. New-release Blu-ray discs will wholesale for $23.45, a premium of 15%-20% over what suppliers were charging for new theatrical DVDs.
Keep in mind, these are wholesale prices. Retail pricees are expected to be $5-15 higher, making new releases as much as $39. Needless to say, I'll be holding onto my DVD player, at least until prices come down. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
InterVideo sent out a press release this morning, announcing that the Xbox 360 shipped with their DVD engine software. This software supports DVD Video playback and Windows MCE playback using the Xbox 360's remote control.
InterVideo, Inc. (NASDAQ:IVII - News) announced today that the new Xbox 360(TM) video game and entertainment system from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT - News) includes the award-winning DVD engine from InterVideo's WinDVD for video playback. InterVideo previously announced the licensing agreement with Microsoft last May.

The much-anticipated Xbox 360 provides consumers with a high-definition gaming experience, multi-channel audio fidelity and high-quality DVD playback, making it a highly versatile entertainment solution for today's digital lifestyle.

In addition to providing standard DVD features, InterVideo's DVD playback software delivers support for display on high resolution progressive and interlaced monitors as well as decoding high definition television content.
If you'd like to read more, InterVideo's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Here's an interesting bit of news. According to Mark Russinovich's blog, both Alcohol and Daemon Tools use rootkits to circumvent DRM.
An easier approach is to fool game DRM software into thinking its reading data for playing a game from its original CD rather than from an on-disk copy. DRM software uses a number of techniques to try to defeat that trick, but a straightforward one is simply to detect if CD emulation software is present on the system and if so, if the game is being run from an on-disk emulated copy. That's where rootkits come in. Two of the most popular CD emulation utilities are Alcohol and Daemon Tools and they both use rootkits.
It will be interesting to see how the developers of both programs respond to Mark's claims. If you'd like to read more, his entire blog post can be found here. Add a comment
The results are in and our readers have chosen the BenQ DW1640 as the top DVD writer for the month of January. Here are the top five drives:
  1. BenQ DW1640
  2. Plextor PX-716A
  3. BenQ DW1655
  4. LG GSA-4167B
  5. Pioneer DVR-110/A10
Your favorite drive didn't make it onto the list? Then go and vote for February's top DVD writer. Add a comment
Nero released an update for Nero 7 this morning. As usual, the update includes a number of changes and bugfixes. Here are the release notes for version
  • It was impossible to edit an audio file anymore once the audio file has been added to a compilation
  • When ripping tracks, it was not possible to create a new folder from within the save dialog
  • In rare cases Nero crashed when getting free drive space
  • Encoding of single tracks was not possible - only all tracks of the compilation
  • Burn process may have failed in case a saved project is used and if the process will be started within 4 seconds. The error: 'unspecific recorder error' was displayed
  • Last position of the window is not saved before closing the application
  • Video CD menu entries were readable in preview, but not on the burned Video CD
  • Virus scan did not work with ZIP files
  • Nero did not detect any CD/DVD device if 3 or more devices are connected, but the virtual "Image Recorder" only
If you'd like to check it out, the update can be downloaded here. As usual, feel free to share your experiences in our forum. Add a comment
Droppix has released a new version of their Droppix Recorder software. Along with support for new CD and DVD burners, version 1.7 introduces several new features, including detailed album information and Droppix Label Maker 1.5.
- Use ISO9660:1999 standard: Droppix Recorder now supports the ISO9660:1999 file system. This standard permits file and folder names of up to 207 characters.

- Complete Unicode NTFS Support: Droppix Recorder now includes complete support for the Unicode NTFS standard. It is therefore possible to use non-Latin character sets (such as Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, Cyrillic, etc.) for the file names in any project.

- Detailed Album Information: If computer is connected to the internet, Droppix Recorder's music extraction module is now capable of automatically downloading and displaying all CD-Audio information including the description, album cover art, release date, price, label, etc.

- Add/Remove CD-Audio Track Pauses: In one click, Droppix Recorder now lets user add or remove the pause between tracks in its own music compilations.

- Support for new CD and DVD burners: This new version of Droppix Recorder adds support for new CD and DVD recorders. Full listing of tested recorders is available on the Droppix website.

- Droppix Label Maker 1.5: Droppix Recorder includes version 1.5 of Droppix Label Maker software, the easiest way to print LightScribe custom labels. Now shipped with many label templates and with a variety of background images, logos and fonts that you can use in your projects, this new version adds the ability to print labels in a series with a unique serial number and allows to automatically import information from any CD-Audio, playlist or database.
The 1.7 update can be downloaded directly here. Otherwise a 30-day trial version can be downloaded from the Droppix website. Add a comment
The guys over at CD Freaks have put together a review of Plextor's new "Super-Multi" drive, the PX-750A. Here's what they had to say about it:
The Plextor PX-750A can write most DVD+R with very good quality. The PX-750A was able to handle some media that is known to be troublesome; the PX-750 handled those media with ease.
We too have a review of the PX-750A in the works. In the mean time, head on over to CD Freaks and check out their review. Add a comment
Mystik Media has announced that version 6.1 of their Blaze Media Pro software has been released. This versatile software lets you convert, edit and burn a wide range of audio and video formats.
Mystik Media has released Blaze Media Pro 6.1, a powerful, all-in-one Windows multimedia application supporting all popular media formats; audio and video playlists; audio and video conversions; audio and video editing & recording, video construction, combining, decompiling, batch processing; and video capture. Advanced audio and data CD burning capabilities, as well as video and data DVD and VCD/SVCD burning, are provided.

Key new features in Blaze Media Pro 6.1 include an easy-to-use system for burning video DVDs and VCD/SVCD CD discs, as well as support for making backups of any type of audio CD quickly and easily. In addition, the video converter, video constructor, video decompiler, and "extract audio content from video files" features have all been completely redesigned and greatly enhanced. In addition to converting entire video files, you can now convert any selected portion of a file.
Blaze Media Pro 6.1 is available now for $50. More information on the software can be found here. Add a comment
Here's an interesting bit of news. According to an article at Computeract!ve, TDK has decided not to offer HD-DVD media. Instead they will focus solely on the Blu-ray format.
TDK, one of the leading vendors of DVD discs, is not going to sell media for next-generation high definition HD-DVD drives and will concentrate instead on rival Blu-ray.

The company, a member of the Blu-ray Association, has long been a backer of the technology, but other media vendors, such as Imation, are happy to sell both Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs.
It will be interesting to see how this decision affects TDK. As we reported a few weeks ago, companies like Memorex and Fujifilm plan to offer both Blu-ray and HD DVD media. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Thanks to we've learned that LG has another "Super-Multi" drive on the way. While otherwise very similar to the GSA-H10N, the GSA-H10A lacks its sibling's 12x DVD-RAM and 10x DVD+R DL writing speeds. Here are some of the GSA-H10A's specs:

Writing Speeds:

DVD+R: 2.4X, 4X, 8X, 12X, 16X
DVD+RW: 2.4X, 4X, 8X
DVD+R DL: 2.4X, 4X, 6X, 8X
DVD-R: 2X, 4X, 8X, 16X
DVD-RW: 1X, 2X, 4X, 6X
DVD-R DL: 2X, 4X
DVD-RAM: 2X, 3X, 5X
CD-R: 4X, 8X, 16X, 24X, 32X, 40X, 48X
CD-RW: 4X, 10X, 16X, 24X, 32X

Buffer Size: 2MB
Read Speeds:

DVD-ROM: 16X Max
DVD±R: 10X Max
DVD±RW: 8X Max
DVD±R DL: 8X Max
DVD-RAM: 2X, 3X, 5X Max
CD-R/ROM: 48X Max
CD-RW: 40X Max

Access Times:

CD-ROM: 125ms
DVD-ROM: 145ms
DVD-RAM: 165ms

No word on price or availability yet. As we find out more we'll let you know. Until then, more information can be found here. Add a comment