Lite-On IT, Taiwan's No.1 manufacturer of optical disk drives (ODD) announced the company would support the HD DVD format and that it has started development of a half-height HD DVD drive, aiming for commercialization in March 2007.
HD DVD products are expected to see a rapid boost in demand during the Christmas and year-end shopping season, and Toshiba Corporation of Japan has already launched an Notebook PC with HD DVD-ROM in selected markets, HD DVD players in the U.S. and Japanese markets, and a hard disk recorder with HD DVD for the Japanese market.
Lite-On IT said it has undertaken an extensive evaluation of HD DVD technologies, and concluded that HD DVD will be a major driving force in connection with the coming generation of ODD with blue laser pick-up heads, because of its cost advantage and its proven technical reliability, including superior backward compatibility with DVD. By joining the HD DVD market ahead of many other suppliers of ODD drives, Lite-On IT intends to take full advantage of the excellent market opportunities provided by HD DVD and contribute to the sound growth of the next generation DVD industry.
"We looked at the market and we looked at the technology, and we saw that HD DVD is a great fit with our business strategy," said Michael Gong , General Manager, Optical Disc Drive Business Unit of Lite-On IT. "It provides a quality, cost-effective, technically elegant solution that can be applied to all kinds of platforms, from home entertainment to computing and game systems. We look forward to working with our collaboration partners to advance HD DVD as the format of choice in the digital age."
To date, Lite-On has been a strong supporter of Blu-ray, and it is still committed to shipping Blu-ray kit. Earlier this month, it announced its internal BD writer, the LH-2B1S, will ship in October, followed by an external version, the LX-2B1U, available toward the start of 2007.
LiteOn has also company merged its ODD operation with that of BenQ on April 10, 2006, a move that pushed it into the runner-up position in half-height ODD among world-class manufacturers, with production almost on a par with Hitachi LG Data Storage (HLDS).