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Thursday, June 08, 2006
First HD DVD-R and RW Media by Hitachi and Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi Chemicals and Hitachi Maxell have announced the release dates of the first HD DVD-R (recordable) and HD DVD-RW (Re-recordable) media, as well as the availability of BD-R and BD-RE discs.

Mitsubishi's single layer HD DVD-R (15GB) will be available on the Japanese market in the 5th of July. The company also announced that it will ship the first dual-layer HD DVD-R media (30GB) by the end of the year, where the first HD DVD recorders are expected to reach the market.

The first HD DVD-RW media are expected to follow the standardization of the format. Currently, the DVD forum has developed the specifications for single layer HD DVD-RW (Ver.0.9) as well as for dual layer HD DVD-RW media (Ver.1.9). The specifications are expected to be finalized (Ver.1.0 SL and Ver.2.0 DL) as soon as the ongoing round robin test is finished.

MKM leveraged its proven Azo technology to develop a new recording dye specifically designed for HD DVD-R. The new recording dye promises compatibility, features a high recording sensitivity plus the wider power margin of the new recording layer ensure a low error rate, read Stability and resistance to sunlight and heat.

The recording characteristics of Verbatim HD DVD-R discs are further enhanced by the disc's physical attributes. Features such as a uniform groove shape, consistent substrate thickness and flatness of the disc have been proven to optimize the performance and longevity of media. These characteristics are achieved using a new mastering process, ultra precise molding technology and advanced bonding techniques developed by MKM. To achieve the narrow track pitch of the HD DVD format, MKM also developed a stamper with a precise groove shape that could not have been achieved with existing techniques.

Mitsubishi also announced the availability of its BD-R and BD-RE single layer (25GB) media, which can be recorded at 2x. The BD media is produced at MKM?s optical disc manufacturing facility in Mizushima, Japan. The Mizushima factory is known for its expertise in producing 30GB Ultra Density Optical (UDO) discs. The UDO media, which is also based on blue laser technology, is widely used in mission-critical optical libraries for legal, financial, healthcare and government applications.

The BD discs have the added protection of a proprietary hard-coat finish. Similar to the surface coating technology found in touch panel displays and scratch-resistant eyeglass lenses, the hybrid organic/inorganic coating technology developed by MKM protects the recording layer without warping the disc.

Later this Fall, the company plans to start selling 50GB dual layer BD-R /RE media, although this statement looks quite optimistic considering the progress in the development of multi-layer Blu-ray technologies.

Mitsubishi has not disclosed pricing details for the new discs.

Another Japanese media manufacturer, Hitachi Maxell, announced the launch of new single layer BD-R and BD-RE media for July, priced at about 2,000 yen ($17,7) and 2,500 yen ($22), respectively. The company also said that dual layer BD-R and BD-RE media are scheduled for Autumn.

The BD-R discs conform to the Blu-ray Disc Recordable Format Version 1 standard for 2x recording, while the BD-RE is following the Blu-ray Disc Rewritable Format Version 2 standard requirements. Both BD-R/RE media use inorganic recording layers.

Hitachi Maxell will also release HD DVD-R (15GB) this July, priced at 2,000 yen. The discs are AACS compliant and are able to hold 75 minutes of high definition video content. The use a special organic dye and can be burned at 1x. Availability of dual-layer HD DVD-R as well as single layer HD DVD-RW media is scheduled for autumn.

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