Panasonic will be releasing a 4x Blu-ray burner, which will compete with a recently announced Sony 4x burner. It will burn single-layer 25GB and dual-layer 50GB BD-R at 4x, BD-RE at 2x, DVDÂ±R at 16x, DVDÂ±R DL at 8x, DVD-RW at 6x, CD-R at 40x, and CD-RW at 24x – comparable to the Sony. The Panasonic LF-PB271JD comes out in Japan on November 10th for Â¥55,000 (roughly $468), a good bit less than the Sony drive.
Meijer, a regional retailer with 180 stores in IL, IN, MI, OH, and KY, has decided to drop HD DVD from the Meijer.com website. They were seeing Blu-ray outsell HD DVD 4 to 1, and so decided to drop HD DVD and instead to expand their Blu-ray Disc offerings. They now offer 300 titles, nearly all of the Blu-ray titles released to date.
Speaking of BD titles, while Warner Bros. has officially supported both HD DVD and Blu-ray, are release most HD titles on both formats, there have been some high-profile titles released only on HD DVD – such as Terminator 3 and The Matrix Trilogy. These titles took advantage of HD DVD’s HDi interactive features and support for PIP-style bonus features and commentary. Now with Blu-ray players supporting Profile 1.1 hitting shelves soon (all new players released after October 31 must support 1.1), it looks like Warner is going to play catch-up. The first catch-up title has been announced – Terminator 3. T3 will be hitting Blu-ray on December 4th, with all of the high-def bonus features found on the HD DVD release (from September 2006) intact.
And finally, the Blu-ray Disc Association, the consortium which controls the BD specifications, has overhauled their website. They’ve added a lot of consumer oriented information to help educate consumers who come looking for answers to their BD questions. It is a lot more consumer-friendly than the old site, which was aimed more at industry.