NEC says that it will deliver HD DVD drives in September 2005, while Warner Brothers will release the latest Batman film, due out this summer, on the new format.
Next-generation DVD technology, which relies on GaN-based blue lasers, is taking center stage at this year?s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Key hardware on display at the event, which runs 6-9 January, includes NEC?s prototype three-laser optical drive for desktop computers. The drive is said to be the first to allow CD, DVD and high-definition (HD) DVD playback through a single optical head.
NEC has developed a control system that alters the numerical aperture of the objective lens according to which laser ? blue, red or infrared ? is required.
The Japanese company now says that it will deliver HD DVD read-only drives in September this year. Toshiba and Sanyo both have plans to supply HD DVD players in the fourth quarter, with Toshiba also due to deliver notebook PCs featuring the new technology.
HD DVD discs
In another boost for the HD DVD group, optical disc manufacturer Memory-Tech said that it has six mass production lines ready to produce up to 50 million HD DVD discs per year.
Content is expected to be a major factor in determining which of the blue-laser formats captures the market, and Hollywood studios Warner Brothers and Paramount have revealed some of the films set to be released on HD DVD. New titles that will become available on the format include Batman Begins and Ocean?s Twelve.
HD DVD is the rival to Blu-ray, the alternative next-generation DVD format. The Blu-ray group, which includes GaN laser pioneer Nichia among its members, is led by Sony and Matsushita.