Toshiba and Samsung have completed the technical development of its Blu-Ray disc drives for PCs with product excpected to appear soon.

The backward-compatible single-layer technology will read CD and DVD formats and is expected to launch in March, according to Richard Aguilera, western regional sales manager for optical disc-drive products at Samsung. “The first technology will burn Blu-Ray, but only read DVD and CD disks,” he said.

“The next technology we’ll launch,” Aguilera said, “will burn all three technologies–Blu-Ray, DVDs and CDs.” Samsung’s second-generation is scheduled for release between April and August, Aguilera said.

Today’s DVDs use red lasers at 650nm to read and write data, while Blu-Ray and HD-DVD use a shorter wavelength, blue laser at 405nm. The Blu-Ray beam can focus more precisely, enabling it to read information recorded in pits that are only 0.16 microns long, which is more than twice as small as the pits on a DVD. The smaller pit length allows for the storing of up to 25 Gigabytes in a single layer disc, about five times more than can be stored on a standard DVD disc.

Blu-Ray will initially surface in high-definition consumer products sometime before September, Aguilera said. As prices begin to fall, more PC manufacturers are expected to build the drives into their products.

“First, you’ll probably see the technology pop up in storage applications to replace tape technology,” he said. “And you’re likely to see the technology used by the telecommunications and the financial markets before you see it built into PCs.”



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