CyberLink has announced that they will be showcasing their new next-generation disc and digital TV solutions at CeBIT later this month. Here's part of their press release:
CyberLink Corp. (TSE:5203.TW - News), a leader in Digital Home solutions, today revealed its product line-up for CeBIT 2006, including software for burning and playing high-definition Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD content, products for sharing media within the digital home, premium content protection, and a world cup digital TV solution.

"As one of the world's preeminent IT events, CeBIT is a great opportunity to demonstrate how our latest next-generation disc and digital home solutions can greatly enhance the user experience for video and TV on the PC," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink. "We offer easy-to-implement software that handles the key user requirements for digital home entertainment--recording, playing, and sharing--using sophisticated technology that we've developed over years of experience in this area."
If you'd like to read more, CyberLink's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Maxell Japan has announced that they will be the first company to ship 12x DVD-RAM media. Here's part of their press release, translated from Japanese using Babelfish:

The Hitachi マクセル corporation (president: The Akai period man), conform to new standard DVD-RAM Version 2.2/12x-SPEED DVD-RAM Revision 5.0 standard the DVD-RAM RAM2 for the data of 6 - 12 time stenography record From March 24th for the first time * we sell the disk, in the world. マクセル individual new high-speed BCM (Bismuth Coupling Material: The bismuth coupling material) the phase change record membrane was adopted, worldwide most speed * 12 time stenography record was actualized as a transfer type DVD disk. It is enabled with high-speed correspondence DVD-RAM drive of 6 time speeds or more which have inscription.
Maxell's 12x DVD-RAM media will ship on March 24th and is expected to cost about 1,000 Yen ($8.61US) per disc. If you'd like to read more, the entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Bad news for CMC Magnetics. DigiTimes has reported that one of their smaller plants was damaged in a fire.
The optical disc maker said the plant, located at Yangmei in the northern county of Taoyuan, was established in 1999, and is only one of the smaller plants of the company's facilities. CMC stressed that the plant's structure, equipment, and goods are fully insured. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, the company added.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
According to the German website heise online, Sony has stopped development of its own variant of the Blu-ray format, Professional Disc For Data (PDD). Instead, the company plans to focus on the regular Blu-ray format. Translated from German:
Sony will not develop its memory system further Professional Disc for DATA ( PDD). The PDD is a professional version Blu ray of the Disc and stores 23 GByte on a cartridge Disc. The first drive assemblies came in the middle of 2004 on the market and should offer Plasmons Ultra Density Optical ( UDO) Paroli. According to own data Plasmon as well as HP holds however a market share of 95 per cent with the professional optical LIBRARIES. Udo media store 30 GByte on two sides. Their 5,25-Zoll-Cartridges is compatible to MO media and can be integrated thus into existing MO LIBRARIES - an advantage, which customers have obviously more estimated than the comparatively higher transfer rates of the PDD.
While Sony will not release new versions of PDD, the company will continue to sell the drives through 2007 and offer technical support until 2014. If you'd like to read more, the entire article 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 February. Here are the top five drives:
  1. BenQ DW1640
  2. BenQ DW1655
  3. LG GSA-4167B
  4. Plextor PX-716A
  5. Pioneer DVR-110/A10
Your favorite drive didn't make it onto the list? Then go and vote for March's top DVD writer. Add a comment
Earlier this week, Philips announced its plans for the introduction of its first Blu-ray Disc products. These plans include their BD player (BDP 9000), TripleWriter (SPD7000) and Blu-ray media in capacities of 25GB and 50GB.

Philips, a world leader in optical storage and a founding member of the Blu-ray Disc Association, has announced its plans for the introduction of its first Blu-ray Disc consumer products - the home entertainment player (BDP 9000), an all-in-one PC Writer (TripleWriter) and new Blu-ray media (BD-R and B-RE, single layer 25 GB* and dual layer BD-R and BD-RE 50 GB).

The BDP9000 consumer player will be available in the US in the second half of 2006 and the TripleWriter (SPD7000) will be available in Europe and the US in the second half of 2006.
If you'd like to read more about the BDP9000 or the SPD7000, Philips' entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
As we reported last week, an interim agreement has been made available to those companies wishing to license the new Advanced Access Content System (AACS). While this has allowed the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps to move ahead and release their products on time, there is a downside to this agreement. According to an article at Ars Technica, this agreement forces AACS licensees to eliminate analog outputs by 2013.
The AACS Interim Agreement is a 106-page set of rules for those who wish to license AACS, a list that would presumably include consumer electronics manufacturers and many other technology companies. Although AACS includes, among other things, the ability to allow content owners to determine what kinds of outputs HD video is directed towards, the license also includes a forced sunset for most of those outputs. Put simply, AACS licensees must eliminate analog outputs on consumer electronics devices by 2013 to remain in compliance with the license. Forced obsolescence it is.
While phasing out analog will be a downer for some, it probably won't have that big of an impact, especially with the US switching to digital TV by February of 2009. By then most people will have purchased an HDMI compatible TV or the necessary convertors. Anyway, if you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
According to Akihabara News, Samsung plans to ship two new Blu-ray burners in April. The internal SH-B022A and external SE-B026A both feature 2x BD and 12x DVD recording speeds.

Samsung Electronics announed the release of an internal (SH-B022A) and external (SE-B026A) Blu-Ray burner for April 2006. These 2 innovating drives allow you to store up to 50GB onto a dual layer disc. These 3-in-1 drives (BD, DVD, CD) offer HD video burning and reading at a 2x speed (9MB/s)...

...These innovating products offer an unseen storage capacity: 25GB on a single layer disc and 50GB on a dual layer disc. These triple-format drives can read and record on BD, DVD and CD. They offer a 2x speed for BD, 12x for DVD and 40x (for the internal SH-B022A) or 32x (for the external SE-B026A) for CD.
According to our contacts at Samsung , these drives will NOT be coming to the US. Instead, the company plans to wait for their upcoming 4x BD writer. If you'd like to read more, head on over to Akihabara News. Add a comment
Those of you waiting for Blu-ray will want to mark May 23rd on your calendar. This is the date Sony has set for the launch of their first Blu-ray Disc titles.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE) is targeting May 23 to deliver the first wave of Blu-ray Disc (BD) titles at retail, it was announced today. Delivery will coincide with the launch that day of the first commercially available BD player from Samsung Electronics, which will be followed shortly by BD players from Pioneer and Sony along with a BD compatible VAIO PC from Sony.

SPHE and MGM Home Entertainment will first release eight BD titles, with another eight following shortly June 13. Benjamin S. Feingold, president, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, made the announcement.

The first Blu-ray Disc titles from SPHE and MGM Home Entertainment will include: 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, A Knight's Tale, The Last Waltz (MGM), Resident Evil Apocalypse and XXX.
The second phase of the Blu-ray rollout will begin on June 13th and will include titles such as Kung Fu Hustle, Legends of the Fall, Robocop, Stealth, Species, SWAT and Terminator. According to various sources, the suggested retail price will range from $30-$40, depending on whether or not the title is a new release. If you'd like to read more, Sony's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Sony and NEC have announced that they've signed an agreement forming a new joint venture, Sony NEC Optiarc Inc. The two companies will spin off their respective optical disc drive businesses on April 1 and transfer them to the joint venture on April 3.
Sony Corporation ("Sony") and NEC Corporation ("NEC") announce today that they have signed a definitive agreement to establish a joint venture company, Sony NEC Optiarc Inc., in carrying out optical disc drive business. Shinichi Yamamura, currently Deputy President of Video Business Group of Sony, will serve as the president of the new company. Sony and NEC will separate their respective optical disc drive businesses on April 1, 2006 in preparation for creating this joint venture. The planned date of establishment of Sony NEC Optiarc Inc, is April 3, 2006 and it will take over the two separated businesses in creating one company.
This newly formed venture is expected to be the world's second-largest optical disc drive maker, topped only by Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDS). If you'd like to read more about the joint venture, Sony's press release can be found here. Add a comment