According to DigiTimes, Microsoft is looking to place OEM orders with drive manufacturers in Taiwan for their upcoming external HD-DVD player for the Xbox 360.
Microsoft plans to place OEM orders with leading makers of optical disc drives (ODDs) in Taiwan for external HD-DVD players for use with its Xbox 360, according to industry sources. Microsoft Taiwan, however, declined to indicate whether Microsoft will offer such external HD-DVD players and leading Taiwanese ODD makers, including BenQ, Lite-On IT and Quanta Storage, said they have not heard of such news.
I would not be surprised if they placed an order with BenQ as they're already producing the DVD-ROM drive modules in the Xbox 360. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
MSI has released some details on their new external "Super-Multi" drive, the DRE16-B. This new drive features 16x DVD±R, 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD+R DL, 4x DVD-R DL and 5x DVD-RAM writing speeds. Here are some of the drive's specs:

Writing Speeds:

DVD+R: 16x
DVD+RW: 8x
DVD+R DL: 8x
DVD-R: 16x
DVD-RW: 6x
DVD-R DL: 4x
CD-R: 40x
CD-RW: 24x

Read Speeds:

DVD-ROM: 16x Max
CD-ROM: 40x Max

Buffer Size: 2MB

Judging by the naming scheme and specs, the DRE16-B is based on the DQ60 from BenQ. For more information on the DRE16-B, head on over to MSI's website. Add a comment
Primera and Imation have announced the world's first water-resistant inkjet-printable media. Utilizing their new TuffCoat with AquaGuard surface, these discs are resistant to both water and smearing.
Primera Technology, Inc., the world's leading developer and manufacturer of CD/DVD duplication and printing equipment, today announced its new TuffCoat with AquaGuard surface by Imation water-resistant media.

TuffCoat with AquaGuard surface is the world's first water-resistant and smear-resistant inkjet-printable CD-R and DVD-R media. The AquaGuard surface, developed by Imation Corp. (NYSE: IMN) and incorporated into Primera's TuffCoat media, offers many benefits, including:

  • Water and smear resistance. Leveraging a proprietary surface that utilizes nanoparticle technology to grip and hold ink, printed images are locked in place exactly where originally applied. The discs are highly resistant to smearing and color bleed when exposed to water and humidity.  
Primera's new TuffCoat with AquaGuard media will be available at the end of January. More information can be found here. Add a comment
DigiTimes has also reported that Ritek and CMC are planning to produce both Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs.
Ritek and CMC Magnetics, the top two makers of optical discs in Taiwan, exhibited Blu-ray Disc (BD) and HD-DVD discs at the recent 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in the US, with each company planning to start volume production of the discs next quarter at the earliest, according to the two companies.

Ritek showcased 25GB BD-R (recordable, write once), 15GB HD-DVD-R, 15GB HD-DVD-RW (rewritable) and 20GB HD-DVD-RAM (also rewritable) discs, all single-sided single-layer, at CES, company spokesman Eric Ai pointed out. The production of HD-DVD discs will come earlier than BD discs, Ai indicated.
The article also mentions that CMC plans to ship 15GB HD-DVD discs when Toshiba launches their HD DVD players in the US and Japan. The company is also developing a double-layer HD-DVD disc with a capacity of 30GB. If you'd like to read more, the entire article can be found here. Add a comment
According to an article at DigiTimes, Philips' optical pick-up business has been purchased by Arima Devices, an affiliate of Arima Computer.
According to Arima's company filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE), Arima Devices will take over Philips' R&D centers in Holland and Singapore and a manufacturing site in Shanghai, China, with 780 Philips staff to remain in employment. Under the deal, Arima Devices will obtain all of Philip's patented PHU-technology, including Blu-ray-Disc-related technologies, and is looking to be a major global manufacturer of PC-use DVD drives and high-end optical PUHs.
Pick-up head (PUH) shortages have been plaguing Taiwanese drive manufacturers for a number of years. With Japanese manufacturers holding the patents, they've had to import these key components. Hopefully, this will change with Arima's purchase of Philips' optical pick-up business. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
LG has announced that they are showcasing their new line of optical storage drives at CES. Along with the GSA-2166B and GSA-4167B, they have the GSA-H10N on display. This new "Super-Multi" drive is one of the first to feature 10x DVD+R DL and 16x DVD-RAM writing speeds.
A major addition to LG's Super-Multi line of drives is the GSA-H10N, one of the world's first optical storage drives that can write DVD-RAM at a 12x speed. The Super-Multi GSA-H10N is designed for anyone with storage needs where consistency and the ability to re-write data and video is a must. Whether to back-up MP3s, videos, digital pictures or any large files, this drive can handle it all at speeds only a few have ever experienced. In addition to the 12x DVD-RAM write speed, this unit features write speeds of 16x for both DVD+R and DVD-R, write speeds of DVD+RW to 8x, DVD-RW to 6x, DVD+R DL at 10x and DVD-R DL at 8x.
No word on pricing or availability yet. However, the GSA-H10N should be shipping soon as Buffalo and I-O DATA have already announced their own versions of the drive. Both companies are expecting to start shipments by the end of this month. If you'd like to read more, LG's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
BenQ has announced that they've added two new external drives to their storage product line. Here's part of their press release:
BenQ, a leading manufacturer of digital lifestyle devices, today announced the expansion of its storage product line with two new external drives that feature a double-layer recording capability. Both the slim-line TW200D DVD+/-RW drive and EW16GA 16x DVD re-writer are designed for portability for on-the-go professionals.

To maximize convenience, the TW200D's slim and lightweight design enables easy portability, and provides the space-saving flexibility of being placed or stored either vertically or horizontally. The TW200D offers 24x CD-ROM and 8x DVD-ROM read speeds as well as 2.4x DVD+R double layer, 8x/4x DVD+R/RW, 8x/4x DVD-R/RW and 24x CD-R/RW write speeds. The unit weighs approximately 14.5 ounces (410 grams), and the casing dimensions are 5.5" (wide) x 0.85" (height) x 6.2" (deep).

The EW16GA provides 48x CD-ROM and 16x DVD-ROM read speeds as well as 8x/4x DVD+R/-R double layer, 16x/8x DVD+R/RW, 16x/6x DVD-R/RW and 48x/32x CD-R/RW write speeds. The unit weighs approximately 3.35 lbs. (1.52 kilograms), and the casing dimensions are 6.7" (wide) x 2.4" (height) x 9.5" (deep).
The TW200D and EW16GA are expected to ship in March and will cost $299 and $249 respectively. More information on both drives can be found here. Add a comment
The Blu-ray Disc Association has announced that the specifications for the Blu-ray Disc format are now complete.
The Blu-ray Disc Association announced today that the format specification is complete and that licensing is ready to begin for BD-ROM, BD-RE and BD-R. The completion of the specification now enables content providers and manufacturers to begin the process of producing Blu-ray Disc products for a wide variety of uses.

The Blu-ray Disc Association approved these specifications on January 2, 2006. Licensing of the BD-R and BD-RE 2.0 specifications began December 26, 2005. Specifications have been approved for the Blu-ray Disc single (25GB) and dual (50GB) layer specifications.
Wow.. and just in time for CES. If you'd like to read more, the entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Verbatim also announced a new Mini DVD+R Double-Layer (DL) disc. Measuring only 8cm in diameter, these discs can hold up to 2.66 GB of data or 60 minutes worth of DVD quality video.
Verbatim Corporation, a pioneer in developing advanced DVD and Double Layer technologies, announced today a new Mini DVD+R Double-Layer (DL) disc. Measuring only three inches (8cm) in diameter, the new discs provide a full hour of continuous video capture time on a single side or 2.66GB of storage capacity--almost twice the capacity of current mini DVDR discs. Three-packs of Verbatim Mini DVD+R DL media will be available in the spring of 2006, when the new Mini +R DL-compatible camcorders are launched. The media can also be recorded with drives supporting the +R DL format.
No word on price yet. However, Verbatim expects to ship the discs in the spring of 2006. If you'd like to read more, Verbatim's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
Verbatim has announced that they've added 16x DVD-R discs to their line of LightScribe media. The company also plans to roll out media capable of faster printing speeds as well as discs with colored backgrounds.
Extending its leadership in offering the widest range of premium-quality LightScribe media, Verbatim Corporation announced today its new LightScribe 16x DVD-R media in 30-pack spindles. Verbatim, which already offers LightScribe CD-R and DVD+R media in 10-pack spindles, 20-pack slim cases and 30-pack spindles, will begin shipping the new LightScribe 4.7GB/120-minute DVD-R media in Q1 2006. The company also is preparing to roll out LightScribe gold-background CDs and DVDs with a new coating that enables faster label printing, as well as color-background LightScribe CDs/DVDs in Q2. Engineering samples of the new LightScribe media are being showcased this week during CES in Las Vegas at Verbatim's Booth #36049, South Hall 4.
Verbatim's LightScribe 16x DVD-R discs and higher-speed media will be available in Q1 2006 with an estimated street price of $39.99 for a 30-pack spindle. More information can be found here. Add a comment