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Matsushita starts sampling Blu-Ray drives

Posted by iMark - 2006-04-25

TOKYO — Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. has developed internal Blu-ray Disc drives for PCs.
The company will also start offering an internal half-height model in Japan in June 10. It will also offer four types of writable disks– 25 Gbyte and 50 Gbyte BD-RE (rewritable) and BD-R (write-once) disks without cartridges beginning April 28 in Japan.

"The year of 2006 is a milestone as the BD technology has completed including ROM and now we can newly offer total BD products. We introduced the drives and disks as the first products," said Kazuhiro Tsuga, executive officer of Matsushita.

The drives come in three types, a half-height and two slim-type drives with a loading slot or a disk tray. All three handle bare BD disks coated with Matsushita's proprietary hard coating technology.

Initially Matsushita plans to manufacture 50,000 disks a month, about 25 percent of dual-layer 50 Gbyte disks.

The drive has two object lenses, one for CD and DVD and another for BD. Thus the drive can record data on nine types of disks including BD-RE, BD-R, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, CD-R and CD-RW. For playback, all these discs plus DVD-ROM and CD-ROM. When software becomes available, BD-ROM can be read.

The half-height model, dubbed as the LF-MB121JD for the Japanese market, is expected to sell for $850. Disks will be available from $15 for single-layer 25 Gbyte BD-R disks to $52 for dual-layer 50 Gbyte rewritable disks.

Matsushita is now offering BD drives on an OEM basis overseas. It is targeting a 20 percent share of the global embedded BD drive market.

Toshiba already announced a notebook PC with a slim HD-DVD drive built-in, to be marketed mid-May in Japan. The drive features one object lens pickup for all infrared, red and blue lasers for CD, DVD and HD-DVD respectively.



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