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Friday, September 01, 2006
Pioneer Plans Blu-ray and HD DVD Hybrid Drive


Pioneer presented plans for upcoming Blu-Ray burners at the IFA 2006, saying that that they are planning a hybrid drive that can play Blu-ray and HD DVD discs for 2007.

The Pioneer BDR-103 would be the one that solves the High definition format issue for you. Pioneer's third generation of Blu-Ray burners is expected to be able to read both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs, as well as CD media. The drive will be equipped with an optical pickup unit developed by Pioneer. This could possibly lower the price of the drive to the 500 EUR tag.

Currently, Pioneer has released the BDR-101A, capable of writing at 2x on BD-R/RE media and also supporting DVDs. The second generation of the company's BD burners is expected for January 2007. The BDR-102A will be a triple-writer, which means that it will support writing on BD, DVD and CD media.

Currently, mass production of Blu ray and HD DVD hardware has been delayed due to the limited availability by blue laser diodes. Current suppliers can reportedly cover a very small percentage of the overall demand. In addition, the demand is expected to be higher with the introduction of Sony's Playstation 3 game console, which is equipped with a Blu-Ray drive. The situation is expected to change next year.

Korean-based Samsung is also expected to work on a Blu-ray/HD DVD drive. Ricoh has already announced that they have developed assemblies that would make it easy to build hybrid drives.

Pioneer's Red laser drives

Pioneer is also expected to release a series of red-laser DVD burners in the following months. The Japanese company has scheduled the release of the DVR-112 series, the successor of the DVR-111. The drive will offer 18x writing for DVDs and will have an ATAPI interface. Release is scheduled for January 2007.

One month later, Pioneer is expected to launch a S-ATA version of the 18x DVD drive, code-named DVR-212.

Both DVR-112 and DVR-212 series are also expected to come in LightScribe-enabled versions, later in March and April 2007. But before then, Pioneer fans should expect the DVR-111C (LightScribe model). Although the drive is still pending HP's LightScribe verification, it should be expected later this year.


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