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In an attempt to develop a cost-effective optical drive that would support emerging next-generation DVD standard dubbed Blu-ray, Panasonic has created a chipset that would allow to make universal optical reader and recorder of virtually all existing formats save for competing HD DVD format.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., which is known for Panasonic brand, has developed a new chipset for disc drives to record and play Blu-ray disc (BD) at up to 4x speed, DVD (DVD-RAM, DVD±R, DVD±RW, and DVD-ROM) discs and all CD formats. This chipset is in accordance with BD and DVD/CD standards, and consists of two chips: a front-end processor for analog processing such as servo control and laser power control, and a optical disc controller for signal processing as digital lead channel.

The new chipset that includes MN103S98HBA and AN22141A chips is available in Parallel ATA and Serial ATA 1.0a versions which should ease development of applications on the base of the core-logic for both personal computer (PC) deployments and consumer electronics (CE) areas.

So far chipsets for BD-R/BD-RE and DVD/CD were commercialized separately. However, the demand for a Blu-ray drive that is compatible with all BD/DVD/CD media formats increases as the next-generation DVD standard is getting ready for commercial introduction. Once leading studios release content recorded on Blu-ray discs, the industry will need cost-effective components to build mass PC and CE optical drives supporting the new standard and those are the applications that the new chipset from Panasonic was developed for.

Panasonic will start sample shipments in December 2005 and mass production in January 2006.

Earlier this year Sanyo has developed a cost-effective solution to power affordable optical drives supporting competing HD DVD format as well as DVDs and CDs.

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