While LG has been a long time supporter of Blu-ray, Reuters has reported that the company will also support the competing format, HD DVD.
LG Electronics, one of the world's biggest optical drive makers, will support HD DVD as well as Blu-ray in the emerging war over the next DVD standard, it said on Wednesday.

Until now LG Electronics was firmly in the Blu-ray camp, together with most of the other big consumer electronics firms such as Sony Corp, Philips, Dell and Matsushita's Panasonic.
Most likely this ties into LG's plans to introduce a combination Blu-ray/HD DVD player. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Droppix has announced that they've released Droppix Label Maker Deluxe 2.0. This new version of the software supports both Lightscribe drives and Direct-to-Disc printers and has the ability to automatically import CD-Audio information.
Droppix today announced the release of Droppix Label Maker Deluxe 2.0, an advanced new solution for CD and DVD label authoring. Droppix Label Maker Deluxe puts a professional CD and DVD personalization solution at users' fingertips. Its powerful graphics module lets users create professional quality labels quickly and easily. Droppix Label Maker includes a variety of label templates and background images, logos, and fonts that for use in projects in addition to the users' own images and photos. In addition, Droppix Label Maker Deluxe can print labels in a series, each with a unique serial number, and can be configured to automatically import information from any audio CD, playlist or database. Droppix Label Maker Deluxe is fully compatible with LightScribe technology from Hewlett Packard and can also be used with any desktop printers.
More information on Droppix Label Maker Deluxe 2.0 can be found here. Otherwise a 30-day trial version can be downloaded from the Droppix website. Add a comment
TDK has announced that in the process of restructuring their media business, they've decided to stop manufacturing their own recordable CD's and DVD's.
TDK Corporation (NYSE:TDK - News) announced today that the board of directors decided at the board meeting held on March 8, 2006, to further accelerate the restructuring of recording media business, to withdraw from the manufacturing of recordable CD&DVD products in TDK group. Consequently, TDK decided to shut down the production facilities at its European subsidiary, TDK Recording Media Europe in Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The shut down is planned to take place at the end of May 2006. This decision completes TDK's withdrawal from the manufacturing of recordable CD & DVD products, coupled with the reorganization of plants in Chikumagawa area (Nagano, Japan) implemented at the end of last year.

TDK Corporation and its group companies (hereinafter called "TDK") have been fundamentally restructuring the recording media business during this fiscal year. While reviewing the progress of the restructuring and future strategies of the recording media business, TDK has looked for ways to re-strengthen the manufacturing of recordable CD&DVD foundations from various perspectives. However, a sharp drop in market prices of recordable CD&DVDs as well as the increased cost of natural resources has led the recording media business in TDK to serious problems. After studies of measure for re-strengthening manufacturing, the decision of withdrawal from the manufacturing of recordable CD & DVDs that TDK management has made should lead to an improvement and reform of recording media business to change fundamentally the business model.
Keep in mind that TDK plans to contine to sell CD and DVD media. Instead of manufacturing their own, they'll buy it from a third party. If you'd like to read more, TDK's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Nero released a new version of Nero 7 yesterday afternoon. There still is no change log. However, this new update brings the version count up to If you'd like to check it out, the update can be downloaded here or via BitTorrent. As usual, feel free to share your experiences in our forum. Add a comment
Sony Europe has announced that they will start shipping their Blu-ray Disc media this month. Surprisingly enough, their single-layer BD-RE media is expected to be available by mid-March.

Sony Europe's Recording Media & Energy (RME) division today announced that its first Blu-ray Disc media will ship in Europe in March 2006. Single-layer BD-RE (Blu-ray Disc Rewritable) media will be available in store from mid March and single-layer write-once BD-R (Blu-ray Disc Recordable) media will be available from April. Sony is also set to launch dual layer discs later this year.

The single-layer Blu-ray Disc Recordable (BNR25A) and Blu-ray Disc Rewritable (BNE25A) media offer a storage capacity of 25GB, more than five times that of a normal DVD and enough for approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes of video at a bit rate of 24Mbps, or 10 hours and 30 minutes at 5Mbps.1 The new generation media support 2X speed which equates to a data transfer rate of 72 Mbps (9 MB/s), making the discs suitable for video recording as well as data storage and file backup. In addition, Sony's Blu-ray Disc media will feature its unique AccuCORE technology as standard, ensuring reliable data recording, increased disc protection and enhanced durability.
If you'd like to read more, Sony's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
If you're thinking about getting a Blu-ray or HD DVD drive for your computer, you're probably going to want to get an HDMI compliant graphics card, especially if you plan to watch movies in these formats. If that's the case, you might want to check out Sapphire's new HDMI/HDCP compliant graphics card, the Radeon X1600Pro HDMI.

Leading graphics supplier Sapphire Technology has just confirmed it will be the first company to offer HDMI compatible versions in its latest series of graphics accelerators to be previewed at CeBit 2006. The Sapphire Radeon X1600Pro HDMI card is scheduled for availability in April and will deliver both audio and video to HDMI compliant displays and televisions.

The X1600 series has been designed to deliver high efficiency, high performance in Shader Model 3.0 and enhanced image quality. The architecture also supports AvivoTM delivering vibrant high fidelity images and video playback to the latest High Definition (HD) video standards. The new HDMI version is a low profile PCI Express card which supports HDCP and delivers exciting new levels of display performance and quality over this new industry standard connection interface. Two versions provide for either an external SPDIF or internal cable to be connected so that the audio signal is delivered over the HDMI cable.
No word on price yet. However, the Sapphire Radeon X1600Pro HDMI is expected to ship in April. If you'd like to read more, Sapphire's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
TDK Europe has announced that they've started shipping their 25GB BD-R and BD-RE media. Here's part of their press release:
TDK, a world leader in digital recording solutions, announced that it is to begin shipping 25GB recordable and rewritable Blu-ray Disc (BD) media across Europe and will follow with 50GB media in April. A pioneer of blue laser recording technology and founding member of the Blu-ray Disc Association, TDK is the first to market with bare Blu-ray Disc media.

Recommended Retail Pricing is set at 15 Euro for a 25GB BD-R (write once), 20 Euro for a 25GB BD-RE (rewritable), 35 Euro for a 50GB BD-R (write once) and 45 Euro for a 50GB BD-RE (rewritable). Expect to see the first BD media on shelves from April 06, in line with the first BD hardware availability.
As you can see, Blu-ray Disc media definitely isn't cheap, especially the dual layer, 50GB discs. If you'd like to read more, TDK's entire press release can be found here.< Add a comment
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