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Blu-Ray: The Time is Now. Hitachi, Panasonic and Sony Show Off the Equipment

While there is hardly a lot of content that takes full advantage of today’s DL DVDs, the HDTV, which is proclaimed to be a quality revolution, is approaching and consumer electronics and technology companies are pushing forward the new standards for storage on optical discs: the Blu-ray discs and HD DVDs. While the HD DVD does not seem to be that close, the Blu-ray disc looks like just around the corner. At least three first-tier consumer electronics makers showcase their Blu-ray players and even burners at CeBIT 2005.

Blu-ray, which is also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD) is the name of a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by a group of leading consumer electronics and PC companies to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition television (HDTV). Blu-ray makes it possible to record over 2 hours of HDTV, or more than 13 hours of SDTV on a 27GB disc. There are also plans for higher capacity discs that are expected to hold up to 54GB of data.

Hitachi shows off its first Blu-ray disc recorder at CeBIT 2005. The company provides no specifications of the device and the design of the burner seems to be rather bulky. By demonstrating the Blu-ray product now, the company sends a strong indication that the technology is here and the question is when to launch it: not a lot of customers, especially in Europe, seem to be interested in BD right now due to the fact that HDTV still has not gained enough popularity.

Hitachi’s Blu-ray burner

In addition to its burner, Sharp shows off Maxell’s Blu-ray Disc that can be recorded with up to 23GB of data.

Maxell’s BD-ROM

Panasonic is also on the forefront of the technology with its commercially available DMR-E700BD recorder that can also record DVD R discs. The company originally did not want to introduce its Blu-ray device outside Japan, but it seems like the firm then decided to tease Europeans at the trade show in Hannover, Germany.

Panasonic DMR-E700BD

It is still unclear whether Panasonic brings its Blu-ray burner to the U.S. market, where HDTV is starting to pick up.

Sony, who seems to be the No. 1 adopter of the Blu-ray this time came to a decision not to show off its BDZ-S77 burner, but to demonstrate a prototype of its BD-ROM player using MPEG-4 AVC content.

Sony’s BD player prototype

It is known that the company’s PlayStation3 console will also use BD-ROM instead of DVD-ROM. With a burner, a player and a console in the lineup Sony seems to be confident about the future of the Blu-ray disc, and it seems that once the next-gen console from the company hits the market, the era of more or mass Blu-ray may begin.

Sony’s BD ROM products

Among leading consumer electronics companies, Sharp also has BD burner in the lineup.

Generally, consumer BD burners cost from $2700 to $4000 and still may be considered as luxurious devices. Bulk BD discs are expected to cost from $30 to $70 depending on the size.

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