According to the Korea Times, five US film studios have sued Samsung over a glitch in their DVD players, allowing users to sidestep both region encoding and HDCP.
Samsung Electronics, Asia's most valuable high-tech company, is scrambling after multiple U.S. movie studios reportedly took the Seoul-based firm to court, alleging glitches in its DVD players.

Over the weekend, Bloomberg news reported Walt Disney, Time Warner and three other major film makers filed the lawsuit against Samsung in U.S. court.

They claimed that Samsung's DVD players allowed consumers to avoid encryption features that prevent unauthorized duplication and demanded a recall of all the problematic products, Bloomberg said.
Samsung believes the DVD player in question is the DVD-HD841, which was discontinued more than 15 months ago. Of course, the big question then is "why now?". To put it simply, the movie industry is trying to make it clear that they do not want companies producing products that can bypass the protection schemes they've put in place. Most importantly, those that they've worked hard to implement in Blu-ray and HD DVD. Anyway, if you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Last week, Toshiba America let slip that their upcoming HD DVD players would require a firmware update before they could take advantage of some of the format's interactive features. The company is now backpeddling, stating that their first-generation players will support these features, at least those available at launch.
"Toshiba's first HD-DVD players will support the advanced content features called for by HD-DVD," said Junko Furuta, a company spokeswoman. She said the firmware upgrade will come into use when new features that aren't yet part of the interactive system are added.

"While our players will provide support for current HD-DVD advanced content from the start, we anticipate that the industry may add to these capabilities as HD-DVD continues to develop. Toshiba's players can be updated to support future applications and services, which may include downloading supplemental audio and video content, disc-related online shopping and other features yet to be imagined."
Between this and AACS not being finalized, I have a feeling that early adopters are going to be in for a rough ride. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
While the final specs for the new Advanced Access Content System (AACS) have not been approved, an interim license agreement has been made available. Thanks to this agreement, the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps should be able to release their products on time.
Toshiba American Consumer Products on Thursday announced an ambitious marketing push in support of HD-DVD but conceded that some of the high-definition optical disc format's interactive features won't be available in the two first-generation players slated to hit stores next month without a "firmware upgrade."

Meanwhile, sources close to the rival Blu-ray Disc camp say an agreement has been reached on an interim license for the AACS copy-protection system both formats will use, removing one of the final obstacles that had been standing in the way of a launch.
While the Blu-ray Disc group has not announced a launch date, HD DVD players and movies are expected to hit store shelves in March. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
I came across an interesting article over at Engadget this morning. According to the author, Microsoft wants both HD DVD and Blu-ray to fail in order that digitally distributed video can succeed.
"Simple. Microsoft really has nothing to gain from either format winning. Just listen to any of Gates' recent interviews and how he talks about discs as a necessary evil until the world is ready for media-free distribution. That said, Microsoft has much to gain from both formats losing. Think back to the format war between DVD-Audio and SACD. Both formats lost and it was a computer company that stepped in to become the new center of the digital music universe.

"Microsoft was a bit late to the game for that one, but it's making a big investment into securing Windows Vista for Hollywood as well as ensuring that Portable Media Centers work with DirecTV set-tops. Microsoft gets to sell DRM software and Windows Mobile licenses so that consumers can take this stuff on the go. All of that is a lot less likely if the content is trapped in a 5-inch round jail, regardless of which camp is the warden.
While an interesting theory, I don't buy it. One thing the author is forgetting is that Microsoft is the developer of iHD. If HD DVD became the dominant format, the company could potentially make a small fortune thanks to royalty payments. In any case, if you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Here's an interesting bit of news. DigiTimes has reported that Lite-On plans to introduce an 18x DVD burner in the third quarter of this year.
With Plextor recently announcing its PX-760A 18x DVD burner (DVD+/-R/RW CD-R/RW), Lite-On IT stated it also plans to volume produce 18x DVD burners in the third quarter of this year, though BenQ currently does not have any plans for the segment at the moment, according to executives from the two Taiwan-based companies.
The article mentions that Sony and Pioneer may also introduce 18x DVD burners. However, BenQ has no plans to do so. Instead, the company will focus on Blu-ray drives. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
Toshiba has announced that they will be touring the US, promoting the launch of their HD DVD players.
Toshiba America Consumer Products, L.L.C. ("Toshiba"), announced today details of an integrated marketing communications plan to launch its line-up of HD DVD players. The Toshiba HD DVD players, models HD-XA1 and HD-A1, will be the first HD DVD players to hit the U.S. market and will begin shipping to retailers in

The multi-tiered initiative is designed to educate retail salespeople, provide them with support materials to aid in the sale of the HD DVD players and continue to increase consumer awareness of HD DVD players.
The tour starts on February 20th and will continue through April, stopping at more than 40 US cities along the way. If you'd like to read more about the HD DVD Tour, Toshiba's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
CyberLink has announced that they've expanded their product range for next-generation disc burning with the release of PowerBackup and InstantBurn.
Following the successful demonstrations with leading Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD partners at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, CyberLink has released archiving software PowerBackup 2.5 and packet-writing solution InstantBurn 5. The announcement adds to CyberLink's recent retail release of data burning solution Power2Go 5.

"Next-generation disc formats Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD significantly increase the amount of data that users can store to disc, including content such as high-definition video," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink. "With our recent success at CES we have demonstrated not just a commitment to these two disc formats, but our ability to provide ready solutions for OEM and retail customers alike."
PowerBackup 2.5 and Power2Go 5 are available now and can be purchased through CyberLink's website. More information on both programs can be found here. Add a comment
According to DigiTimes, Philips' latest lawsuit against Taiwanese media manufacturer DST was sent back for retrial.
Taiwan's Supreme Court recently sent back for retrial by Taiwan's High Court a civil lawsuit filed by Royal Philips Electronics against Taiwanese manufacturer Digital Storage Technology (DST) for violating licensing agreements for CD-R discs. Philips will review the decision and then make an appeal, according to the Taiwan Office of Philips Intellectual Property & Standards.

DST, which produces CD-R, CD-RW and DVD-R discs, signed a license agreement with Philips in July 2001 to use CD-R patents at a royalty charge of US$0.06 per disc. Due to intense competition, DST defaulted on the royalty payments resulting in Philips taking legal action against the Taiwanese maker. Philips won the lawsuit at a district court and Taiwan's High Court but lost in DST's appeal to the Supreme Court.
One thing I've learned over the years is that you don't mess with Philips, especially when it comes to royalty fees. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Pioneer Japan has officially announced their new DVD Multi drive, the DVR-A11. Available in three colors, the DVR-A11 features 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD±R DL and 5x DVD-RAM writing speeds.

Pioneer Corporation announced today its new internal DVD multi writers with ATAPI interface for Windows-based PCs - the DVR-A11-J (pure white), DVR-A11-JBK (black), and DVR-A11-JSV (silver). The new DVD drives, employing the company's newly-designed Disc-Resonance Stabilizer, assure stable write and read operation with high accuracy. At the same time, they realize impressively quiet operation even during high-speed rotation owing to Pioneer's proprietary technologies including honey-comb structure.

Pioneer's new DVD drives support the recording and playback of recordable discs in seven DVD formats (DVD-R, Dual Layer DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM, DVD+R, DVD+R Double Layer, and DVD+RW) as well as CD-R and CD-RW discs. The new drives offering industry-leading write speeds realize the high speed recording of max. 8x on single-sided double-layer DVD formats (Dual Layer DVD-R and DVD+R Double Layer).
No word on pricing yet but according to Pioneer's press release, the DVR-A11 will be available in Japan in early March. More information, including a full list of specs, can be found here. Add a comment
To prevent an oversupply of DVD+R/-R discs, Moser Baer India (MBI) has annouced that they are halting plans to expand manufacturing capacity for CD-R and DVD+R/-R discs.
India-based Moser Baer India (MBI), a leading global manufacturer of optical discs, last week announced halting capacity expansion for CD-R and DVD+R/-R discs, a move that will avoid a potential oversupply of DVD+R/-R discs, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

MBI will not add manufacturing equipment but plans to convert part of its existing CD-R production lines into those for DVD+R/-R discs, the sources pointed out, adding that MBI also plans to step into production of photovoltaic modules in the third quarter of this year.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment