TDK has begun producing samples of recordable and rewritable Blu-ray Disc bare media for consumer use, the company says.
Until now, commercial Blu-ray Disc media has come in a protective cartridge but the Blu-ray Disc Association is finalizing a specification for bare discs. In anticipation of this, TDK has begun test manufacturing such discs on a line at its plant in Chikumagawa in Japan's Nagano prefecture.
The discs make use of a TDK-developed hard protective coating. This coating minimizes scratches to their surface and allows the use of discs without cartridges.
TDK is planning to begin production of four types of discs just as soon as the Blu-ray Disc Association issues licenses for the format, said Nobuyuki Koike, a spokesperson for TDK in Tokyo. The company has been expecting such approval for a while but it hasn't come yet, he said. TDK now expects the group to approve the format sometime next year.
The discs will be 25GB and 50GB versions of recordable BD-R and rewritable BD-RW media, TDK representatives said. The company has yet to price the discs but expects they'll be cheaper than existing media because they don't require the cartridge. TDK has also developed a prototype of a 100GB Blu-ray disc.
The new discs will be for use in Blu-ray Disc recorders. At present, only a handful of such models are available from companies such as Sony, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), and Sharp.
The Blu-ray Disc Association and companies backing the format are expected to unveil new products and a commercialization schedule for read-only BD-ROM disc media at the Consumer Electronics Show, which open in Las Vegas on January 5, 2006.