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Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corp. (TSST), a subsidiary between Japan-based Toshiba and South Korea-based Samsung Electronics, announced this week that it had completed development of its Blu-ray disc drives. The company said it would release both external and internal Blu-ray drives for computers later in 2006.

“Samsung’s announcement of the completion of its Blu Ray disc drive is a major step ahead in the ODD (optical disc drive) technology battleground,” said Albert Kim, national sales manger, storage systems for Samsung SSI.

Samsung did not reveal any particular details concerning the products, but said it would release both external and internal Blu-ray optical drives during the year without claiming the exact timeframe. The drives will be sold under Samsung brand-name. It is unclear whether the company has plans to release HD DVD drives under its trademark.

Samsung Electronics is a member of both DVD Forum, a backer of HD DVD, and Blu-ray disc association, whereas Toshiba is a main developer behind the HD DVD format, a competing technology for the Blu-ray. Toshiba controls 51% of TSST, while Samsung has the remaining 49% stake.

Samsung once promised to release a consumer electronics player that supports both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats, besides, the company – along with Toshiba – has also unveiled the world’s first slim HD DVD drive for mobile personal computers in September, 2005. Meanwhile, Toshiba is a sole backer of the HD DVD standard.

HD DVD discs can store up to 15GB on a single layer and up to 30GB on two layers. Its competitor, Blu-ray, can store up to 27GB per single layer and up to 50GB on two layers, but Blu-ray discs are more expensive to produce. The HD DVD is pushed aggressively by Toshiba and NEC as well as being standardized at the DVD Forum, which represents over 230 consumer electronics, information technology, and content companies worldwide. Blu-ray is backed by Sony and Panasonic, which are among the world’s largest makers of electronics. Among Hollywood studios HD is supported by Warner Bros. Studios, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, whereas Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox endorse Blu-ray.

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