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Tuesday, October 04, 2005
"Blue" Devices at CEATEC 2005

Japan's largest IT, electronics and communication exhibition CEATEC opens gates today at Makuhari Messe (Chiba), and both Blu-ray Disc Association and HD DVD Promotion Group showcase products and applications related to Blu-Ray and HD DVD technologies.

Although most of the products at CEATEC have been already showcased some weeks ago at the IFA 2005 show in Berlin, the latest reports coming from Japan say that Toshiba showcases a new HD DVD player codenamed "Z1000". According to Toshiba spokesmen, the player is at the final stage of production and will be available in the Japanese market late October, for less that 100,000 Yen (US$880). The Z1000 features advanced menu and chapter control options, the interactivity of iHD as well as an HDMI output for digital audio/video. The Toshiba booth also features HD DVD discs and a notebook PC integrating a slim HD DVD read drive (Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology).

Staying in the HD DVD side, Sanyo also showcases its HD DVD player, planned to hit the Japanese market late December. The Japansese giant also also showed an LSI prototype that supports reading and writing of HD DVD/DVD/CD. sanyo plans to launch such a device next March.

NEC has also working models of a half-height HD-DVD drive intended for desktop PCs. The HR-1100A drive is ready for manufacturing, and NEC is waiting on orders from its customers, said Ryoichi Hayatsu, chief manager of the company's first storage products division. The device supports reading and writing of DVD±R/±RW and CD-R/-RW in addition to the reading of HD DVD-ROM/DVD-ROM/CD-ROM.

The highlight of the Sony booth is a Sony VAIO notebook equipped with Blu-ray Disc recorder. The company demonstrates recording of a High Definition video captured by a Sony HDV handycam camcorder, on BD-RE (Blu-Ray Rewritable) media. The BD-RE disc is play backed on a Sony BD-ROM player.

In addition, Panasonic exhibits a reference Blu-ray Disc recorder for notebooks; the first Blu-ray device to support writing on BD-R (Blu-Ray Recordable) media. Panasonic's BD device can record onto BD-RE, BD-R and DVD±R/-RAM/±RW media at 1x, 1x and 8x/5x/4x, respectively. According to the company, recording speed for DVD±RW media might be boosted to 6x by the time of market release. The optical head consists of two lenses, one for BD media and the other one for DVD/CD media. The BD lens supports a spherical aberration correction system and single-sided dual-layer media. The same optical head is also capable of recording onto single-sided dual-layer DVD±R media. Panasonic plans to ship samples by the end of this year and commence commercial production by March 2006. The PC drive will be only 12.7-mm high and will support single-layer 25 GB and single-sided, dual-layer 50 GB BDs. The company also plans to mass-produce four types of bare disc (non-cartridged) BDs: single-layer 25 GB and single-sided, dual-layer 50 GB BD-REs (rewritable) and BD-Rs (recordable), all at 2? speed.

Hitachi LG Data Storage demos a Super-multi Blu-Ray recorder prototype. The GBW-H10N supports BD-ROM reading and BD-R, BD-RW, CD/DVD writing.

Nearby Koninklijke Philips Electronics demonstrates a prototype player that it said could read three types of Blu-ray Disc: BD-ROM, BD-R (record once) and BD-RE (rewritable) and could also read and write to several CD and DVD formats. In addition, Philips showed the "IPS01" prototype BD recorder. Although there is not much information about the specific device, it will possibly support playback of SACD besides BD, DVD and CD.

Pioneer shows the BDP-1000 Blu-Ray as well as the BDR-1000 Blu-Ray recorder (BD-R/BD-RE/DVD±R/DVD±RW), scheduled to hit stores in the first half of 2006.

Last but certainly not least, JVC showcases a BD recorder prototype, capable of playing the BD-DVD hybrid ROM disk. Note that the specifications for a hybrid BD-ROM disc have not yet been finalized. A hybrid BD-ROM disk features one BD-ROM layer and one DVD layer. The hybrid disk concept has been already endorsed by the rival HD DVD camp, and is expected to attract Hollywood Studios allowing them to release HD content in a more "future-proof" environment.

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