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Monday, June 06, 2005
BenQ shows Blu-ray Disc drive prototype

BenQ demonstrated its BW1000 prototype blue-laser DVD burner at the recently concluded Computex 2005 and the company plans to start volume producing the product in the first or second quarter of 2006.

The BW1000 is one of the few working Blu-ray Disc optical drive prototypes.

The drive was developed with Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV as part of the Philips BenQ Digital Storage joint venture formed by the two companies in 2003, said Caroline Hsu, a specialist in BenQ's branding department, speaking at Computex.

A demonstration at the company's booth showed playback of a high-definition video stored on a Blu-ray Disc via the drive.

The BW1000 features writing speeds of 2x for Blu-ray single-layer and DL (single-sided double-layer) discs, 12x for DVD+R/-R, 4x for DVD+R/-R DL, 4x for DVD+RW/-RW, 32x for CD-R and 24x for CD-RW, as well as reading speeds of 2x for Blu-ray, 12x for DVD and 32x for CD, according to BenQ.

Despite Blu-ray Disc's expected commercial launch being less than a year away, hardware based on the standard was not particularly visible at Computex. That could be because many of the companies currently working on prototype drives are the big-name Japanese, European and American companies leading the Blu-ray Disc Association and not the relatively anonymous Taiwanese companies that dominate the optical disc market.

Discs bearing the Blu-ray Disc logo and that of the rival HD-DVD format were on display at the show, however, it's impossible to verify if these are true prototypes or simply mock-ups of discs.

BenQ also showcased two DVD burner models (DQ60 and DW1640) at the show, with the DQ60 being BenQ's first three-format (+R, -R and -RAM) drive. The DVD drive also features drag-and-drop data recording, so burning software is not necessary, BenQ pointed out. The model will be launched at the end of this month.

On the software side, Germany's Nero AG demonstrated a version of its Nero disc burning software with support for Blu-ray Disc. The demonstration was done with a Pioneer Corp. Blu-ray Disc drive and a PC running Windows.

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