Ulead has reportedly dropped Blu-ray Disc support from the latest version of DVD MovieFactory. According to The Register, the software did not have full Blu-ray Disc verification before it shipped.
Media software maker Ulead has dropped Blu-ray Disc support from the latest release of its DVD MovieFactory video capture and disk-mastering application - even though the software has only been shipping for just over a week.

DVD MovieFactory 5 went on sale on 20 March complete with BD-R support. Today, Ulead said it would be yanking the direct BD recording module from the application and would remove the software's BD authoring support. HD DVD authoring and recording will remain available to users, Ulead said.
The article also points out that Ulead has tried to cover their tracks by removing all mention of Blu-ray. Unfortunately, they've done a poor job of doing so. If you'd like to read more, head on over to The Register. Add a comment
Panasonic has announced that they will be shipping their first Blu-ray Disc player, the DMP-BD10, in September. Here's part of their press release:
Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company today announced the upcoming availability of the company's first Blu-ray Disc player, the DMP-BD10, available this September.

Blu-ray Disc is the next generation optical disc format that features capacity as large as 50 gigabytes on a dual-layer disc and will be capable of holding high-definition movies, tens of thousands of songs, and extensive capacity for extraordinary video games and PC storage. Blu-ray Disc has the support of more than 170 leading companies including the top studios and consumer electronics manufacturers.

"With the DMP-BD10, Panasonic proves its commitment to providing the best high definition entertainment experience for the home," said Reid Sullivan, vice president, merchandising, Panasonic's entertainment group. "Our goal is to focus on the total solution for an uncompromised high definition experience. In addition we want to ensure that the consumer experience is as easy as possible, so we've added EZ-Sync HDAVI control function to make it simple to connect and control multiple products, such as a Panasonic Plasma TV, Blu-ray Disc player and receiver. Plus, with the BD10 we respect the legacy content that consumers have in their entertainment libraries, including virtually all DVD and CD formats, as well as video and image formats."
Pricing has not been finalized yet. However, Panasonic expects the DMP-BD10 to go for less than $1500. If you'd like to read more, the entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
If you were thinking about getting an HD DVD or Blu-ray player, you might want to read this article at Businessweek first. Unless your TV has the right connectors, you won't be able to play movies at their full resolution.
The new content-protection scheme would be the first time any consumer electronics purchaser -- not just those who try to break copyright laws -- could be penalized. In this case, even if you have a perfectly equipped TV, content providers retain the right to automatically downgrade the picture quality because of piracy concerns. Current DVD releases like Batman Begins and Walk The Line include software to prevent unauthorized duplication, but still play normally.

New software included on both Blu-ray and HD-DVD releases, however, will automatically slash the image, making it only marginally better than current DVDs, unless consumers have a relatively new connector and cable called HDMI to hook up players to their televisions. Only one in 20 HD sets sold to early adopters over the past few years has the right version of the connector. Only 15% of new sets sold this year will include it, and deliver the full 1080 resolution capable of showing such detail.
Thankfully, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount and Universal are not planning to use the new copy protection, at least on their initial releases. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
According to an article at DigiTimes, the demand for DVD burners is likely to exceed 100 million units this year.
Continual price drops for 16x DVD Dual burners have sped up the replacement of Combo drives with the global demand for all types of DVD burners this year is likely to exceed 100 million units, according to Taiwanese makers of optical disc drives (ODDs).

OEM prices of 16x DVD Dual burners currently are at US$30-32, only US$5 higher than those for Combo drives, according to the makers. As a result, the proportion of DVD burner shipments to global ODD shipments surpassed that of Combo drives beginning this quarter, the makers indicated, adding that the global shipment volume of DVD burners in 2005 is estimated to be 78-83 million units.
If you want to read the entire article, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Plextor America has (finally) announced the PX-750 family of drives. Available in both internal and external configurations, these new drives feature 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD±R DL and 5x DVD-RAM writing speeds.

Plextor Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, today announced the immediate availability of the PX-750 family of 16X DVD+/-R/RW CD-R/RW drives. The new product line expands Plextor's family of value-priced CD/DVD drives designed for mainstream computer users who want reliable, lightning fast performance, but don't require professional recording features.

The PX-750 is the first drive from Plextor to support DVD-RAM functionality for removable data storage applications. Unlike other optical media formats, special burning software is not required to write media on a personal computer. A user simply inserts a blank DVD-RAM disc and the system automatically formats the disc and assigns a driver letter. Users can drag-and-drop files, use the "save as" command, and remove the disc, which can then be read in any PC or desktop player with a drive that supports the DVD-RAM format. The DVD-RAM format offers up to 9.4 GB per double-sided disc.

"The new PX-750 series supports one of the features most requested by Plextor customers -- DVD-RAM functionality," said Pete Schwartz, vice president of marketing and business development for Plextor. "On a per gigabyte basis, DVD-RAM is less expensive than removable magnetic media, which makes it a great alternative for everyday data storage."
The PX-750A ($89) and PX-750UF ($139) are shipping now and have already been sighted at Best Buy stores. More information on both drives can be found here. Add a comment
DigiTimes has reported that Infomedia recently received certification from Philips for their 8x DVD+RW media. According to the article, they are only the third Taiwanese manufacturer to do so.
Infomedia, a second-tier maker of blank optical discs in Taiwan, on March 22 announced it has obtained certification from Philips for the 8x DVD+RW format, the fifth maker globally and the third in Taiwan following Ritek and CMC Magnetics.
The article also mentions that Infomedia will soon start R&D in next-generation blue-laser discs. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
InPhase has announced that they've successfully demonstrated the highest data density of any commercial technology by recording 515 gigabits of data per square inch. Here's part of their press release:
InPhase Technologies, the world's leader in holographic data storage, announced today that it has demonstrated the highest data density of any commercial technology by recording 515 gigabits of data per square inch. Holographic storage is a revolutionary departure from all existing recording methods because it takes advantage of volumetric efficiencies rather than only recording on the surface of the material. InPhase will deliver the industry's first holographic drive and media later this year. The first generation drive has a capacity of 300 gigabytes on a single disk with a 20 megabyte per second transfer rate. The first product will be followed by a family ranging from 800GB to 1.6 terabyte (TB) capacity.

"IT professionals are experiencing enormous growth in their data archives," said Wolfgang Schlichting, Research Director, Removable Storage, IDC. "InPhase Technologies' announcement is an important milestone in storage density, demonstrating impressive capacity increases enabled by holographic storage. The technology represents a potential alternative to incumbent technologies for archival storage requirements," he added.

Densities in holography are achieved by different factors than magnetic storage. Density depends on the number of pixels/bits in a page of data; the number of pages that are stored in a particular volumetric location; the dynamic range of the recording material; the thickness of the material, and the wavelength of the recording laser.
With developments like this, it probably won't be long before we see those 1.6 TB discs. If you'd like to read more, InPhase's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Lite-On released a number of new firmware updates today including ones for the SHM-165H6S and SHW-1635S. You can download them directly using the links below.

SHM-165H6S - DR16HS07.zip

SHW-160H6S - DR16CS06.zip

SHM-160P6S - DR16PS09.zip

SHW-16H5S - DR16LS0W.zip

SHW-1635S - DR16YS0X.zip

As usual, the only description given for for these updates is that they "Match More Media". Please feel free to share your experiences with this new firmware in our forum. Add a comment
The guys over at CD Freaks have put together a review of Plextor's new 16x DVD±RW, the PX-755A. Here's what they had to say about it:
The Plextor PX-755A can write most DVD±R with very good quality. PoweRec and Auto Strategy assured the best results possible over our large range of tested media.

CD-R/RW write quality was also very good, the Plextor PX-755A handling some troublesome media with ease. CD-R/RW media compatibility was also very good.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to CD Freaks and check out their review. Add a comment
Here's some good news for prospective PlayStation 3 owners. At GDC 2006, Sony revealed that their new console will be region free, at least for games.
In a QA session following the platform keynote address at GDC 2006 this morning, Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios President Phil Harrison confirmed what was heavily demanded for import gamers all over the world and yet previously thought unthinkable for a major corporation: the PS3 will be region-free for gaming.
This is definitely good news, especially for those that like to import games from Japan. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment