Ritek has posted a warning on their website, letting consumers know that counterfeit DVD media has shown up on the Japanese market.
Recently there are piracy products in Japan market and below picture is to help you verify the product you bought. Please contact authorized distributor for the Ritek trade mark and standard packaging and make sure product is distributed by RITEK Japan Branch-Ritek Japan Incorporation.

Add a comment
The German website heise online has gotten their hands on Samsung's upcoming Blu-ray writer, the SH-B022. According to the article, they were able to burn an entire 25GB BD-R disc in 43:40 minutes. Translated from German:
The combustion with 2X (corresponds to a transfer rate of 8990 KByte/s) lasted 43:40 minutes. The drive assembly described but announced a once recordable blank (Bd-r) from the fundus of the editorship meanwhile not, that the mark was not supported by the write strategies in the firmware.

Our bench mark program h2benchw could address the drive assembly without problems and determined quite good transfer rates. A Bd-RH is picked out with on the average 8.6 MByte/s, a Dvd-9 with 6,0 MByte/s, an Dvd r with 11,6 MByte/s and an CD-r with 4,4 MByte/s. The middle access times moved between 259 ms with the Bd-RH and 114 ms with an CD-r. The error correction during the reading worked with a badly burned test DVD r very well and with one scratches test CD Rome well. Badly pressed Dvd Rome did not recognize the Sh-b022 however. With a scratched audio CD we heard starting from 1.2 mm scratch width of interferences, copy-protected music CDs however with an exception everything were already played.
The drive Heise used was a preproduction sample and was lacking support for things like CD/DVD writing and AACS. Expect to see the drive on the US market in April for about $500. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Pioneer Japan has released yet another set of firmware updates for their latest series of 16x DVD±RW drives, the DVR-110, DVR-110D and DVR-A10XL. Here is the change log for firmware v1.39:
Support New 8x DVD-R Media
Support New 16x DVD-R Media
Support New 4x DVD-R DL Media
( 4x writing:CMC )
Support New 6x DVD-RW Media
( 6x writing:TDK )
Support New 8x +R Media
Support New 16x +R Media
( 8x writing:E-TOP )
Support New 8x +R DL Media
( 8x writing:Verbatim )
Support New 8x +RW Media
( 8x writing:Verbatim )
( 6x writing:SONY )
DVD-R/+R Writability has improved.
DVD-R/+R DL Writability has improved.
DVD-RW/+RW Writability has improved.
DVD-RAM Writability has improved.
DVD-RAM Readability has improved.
¥Problems which unable to set up some of the CD-Extra media are solved.
¥Format error problem on +RW media combined with specific applications under the conditions Matsushita DVD-RAM driver installed in Windows ME or Windows 2000 are solved.

DVR-A10XL v1.39 - Download

DVR-110 v1.39 - Download

DVR-110D v1.39 - Download
Pioneer has also updated their list of supported media to reflect the changes in the new 1.39 firmware. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in our forum. Add a comment
The Japanese company Buffalo has announced a new series of drives based on Pioneer's upcoming 16x DVD±RW, the DVR-111D. Here are some of the specs for Buffalo's new DVM-RXG16 series:

DVD Writing Speeds:
DVD+R: 16x
DVD+RW: 8x
DVD+R DL: 8x
DVD-R: 16x
DVD-RW: 6x
DVD-R DL: 8x
CD-R: 40x
CD-RW: 32x

Read Speeds:
DVD-ROM (Single Layer): 16x Max
DVD-ROM (Dual Layer): 12x Max
DVD±R: 12x Max
DVD±RW: 8x Max
DVD±R DL: 8x Max
DVD-Video: 5x Max
CD-ROM: 40x Max

While the case, or chassis, has gone through some changes, the specs are very similar to the DVR-110D. We have not heard when Pioneer plans to ship the DVR-111D. However, Buffalo's new drives should hit store shelves by the middle of February. More information can be found here. Add a comment
DigiTimes has reported that Ritek recently received certification from Philips for their 8x DVD+R DL discs. According to the article, they are only the third manufacturer to do so.
Ritek, one of the top two makers of optical discs in Taiwan, on January 24 announced it obtained certification for 8x DVD+R DL (single-sided double-layer) discs from Royal Philips Electronics last week, becoming the only the third company to receive such certification.

Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical) and Ricoh in Japan are the only other two companies to have received the certification.
I could have sworn that Ritek got their 8x DVD+R DL discs certified back in October but I guess that wasn't the case. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
InterVideo has announced that their H.264 codec now supports NVIDIA PureVideo technology. Thanks to PureVideo, their codec can provide a smoother frame rate and better image quality than with a CPU alone.
InterVideo(R), Inc. (NASDAQ:IVII), an industry leader in DVD, MPEG and high-definition (HD) multimedia software technology, announced today that its H.264 Codec now supports the new NVIDIA PureVideo(TM) H.264 decode acceleration available on GeForce(TM) 6 and 7 Series graphics processors from NVIDIA(R) Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA).

H.264 is the digital video codec specified for the Blu-ray (BD) and High-definition DVD (HD DVD) formats. The H.264 specification, which is also known as the Advanced Video Codec (AVC) specification or MPEG 4-Part 10, delivers two to three times the compression efficiency of solutions such as the MPEG-2 standard, which is used in DVD video. H.264 also delivers high-definition video with six times the resolution of standard definition DVDs.

InterVideo's H.264 codec technology leverages highly advanced algorithms to deliver superior quality and performance on today's personal computers. One of the key new features is the ability to divide the decoding tasks among several hardware cores and hardware threads on both the CPU and the GPU. Using traditional single thread decoding techniques, H.264 with high definition would not be feasible on today's personal computers because much of the overall processing power is unused. InterVideo's H.264 codec partitions the decoding tasks through algorithm and data decomposition into multiple threads to use all the processing power of the dual core and hyper threading technologies from Intel(R) and AMD(R) CPUs, as well as the GPU acceleration from NVIDIA graphics hardware.
NVIDIA's PureVideo enabled drivers will be available in Q1'06. More information on PureVideo and InterVideo's H.264 codec can be found here. Add a comment
According to an article at DigiTimes, the Taiwanese media manufacturer Postech has decided to stop production of DVD+R/-R discs.
Postech, a second-tier producer of optical discs in Taiwan, has decided to stop production of DVD+R/-R discs in the first half of this year and shift to other products, according to industry sources. Postech declined to comment on the report.

Postech made the decision because its 8x DVD+R/-R discs are not competitive and the company has had difficulties upgrading to production of 16x DVD+R/-R or 8x DVD+R/-R DL (single-sided double-layer) discs, the sources pointed out.
I don't think many will be saddened by this as Postech had a very small market share, especially here in North America. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Here's some unfortunate news for early HDTV adopters. It looks like late changes in the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) will cause a downgrade in picture quality when the signal is sent through analogue connections.
In a deal reached this week after tense negotiations, the eight-company consortium behind the Advanced Access Content System, created for use by both high-def formats to prevent unauthorized copying, has agreed to require hardware makers to bar some high-def signals from being sent from players to displays over analog connections, sources said.

Instead, the affected analog signal must be "down-converted" from the full 1920x1080 lines of resolution the players are capable of outputting to 960x540 lines—a resolution closer to standard DVDs than to high-def. Standard DVDs are typically encoded at 720 horizontal by 480 vertical lines of resolution.
It's hard to say at this point just how many people will be affected, but I think it's fair to say that many current HDTV owners will not be happy with this news. For more information, the whole article can be found here. Add a comment
Here's some surprising news. Imation has announced that they will be acquiring Memorex in an all cash transaction of $330 million plus contingent payments of up to $45 million.
Imation Corp (NYSE: IMN - News) and Memorex International, Inc, today jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Imation will acquire Memorex International in an all cash transaction for $330 million. Additional cash consideration ranging between $5 million and $45 million would be paid out over a period of up to three years after close, contingent on financial performance of the purchased business. The Boards of both companies have approved the transaction...

..."This acquisition is a major strategic milestone for Imation, as we implement our profitable growth strategy. It is also a win-win for both companies' customers and shareholders," said Bruce Henderson, Imation Chairman and CEO. "We are gaining a powerful consumer brand and global market share leader in recordable CDs and DVDs as well as an experienced management team under the leadership of Mike Golacinski. Added to our technology expertise, strong B2B brand, global footprint, broad product portfolio and industry experience, we are creating a new global powerhouse in the data storage industry."
At this point, I really don't know how this will affect Memorex's product line. As we find out more, we'll let you know. In the mean time, Imation's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Samsung sent out a press release today, announcing that they've completed the technical development of its Blu Ray Disc Drives.
TSST Korea (Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corporation) announced today that it has completed the technical development of its Blu Ray Disc Drives. These revolutionary products for the Optical Disc Drive market offer a massive storage capacity up to 25GB at a single layer disc.

"As a global technology leader, Samsung is always on the forefront of cutting-edge technologies, working to provide consumers with best-of-breed products," said Albert Kim, national sales manger, Storage Systems for Samsung SSI. "Samsung's announcement of the completion of its Blu Ray disc drive is a major step ahead in the ODD technology battleground."
According to Samsung's press release, the company plans to simultaneously launch both internal and external Blu Ray drives later this year. More information can be found here. Add a comment