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Panasonic, a major consumer electronics company and a strong backer of Blu-ray disc standard, has announced that it would begin shipping its Blu-ray disc (BD) burner under its own brand in June and would initiate supplies of its BD optical drives for its clients among value added resellers already in April, 2006.

“Panasonic is committed to the Blu-ray technology, as we believe BD delivers true benefits of better image quality in visual entertainment,” said Mr. Kazuhiro Tsuga, executive officer in charge of digital network and software technologies for Matsushita Electric Industrial, the owner of Panasonic brand-name.

Panasonic’s LF-MB121JD, complied with Blu-ray disc association’s BD-R, BD-RE and BD-ROM standards, can read and write single-layer 25 GB and single-sided, dual-layer 50 GB BDs. Supporting the three generations of optical discs, the 41.3mm high internal BD drive is compatible with 11 different writable CD and DVD optical discs and 13 different readable optical disc formats, according to the company.

The drive also comes bundled with a wide variety of software to help users easily backup and archive a large amount of data, edit video and audio and intuitively drag and drop data for DVD and CD burning, the firm indicated.

The BD drive for desktop computers is set to be introduced in Japan on June 10, 2006. While Panasonic did not say it was going to sell its own-branded BD drives outside its home market, it indicated that it made available the half-height BD drive for desktop computers and slim-line slot and tray loading BD drives for notebook PCs for its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) business clients starting April, 2006. Lenovo, the maker of IBM ThinkPad laptops is among the clients of Panasonic.

Earlier this year Panasonic unveiled a lineup of recordable and rewritable Blu-ray discs with capacities of up to 50GB to be sold in the U.S. Still, it is unclear whether the company plans to sell its own BD burners in the country. The company demonstrated its family of its Blu-ray optical drives at CeBIT 2006 exhibition in Hannover, Germany.

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