FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PANASONIC UNIQUELY POSITIONED FOR 2006 BLU-RAY ARRIVAL
Product, Production, Software and Technology Converge with Industry Support
LAS VEGAS, NV (January 4, 2006) — Panasonic, a dominant force in the development and marketing of DVD products, is now poised to take a leadership role in the introduction of the Blu-ray Disc format in 2006. At the 2006 International CES here today, the company not only revealed plans for the roll-out of high-definition Blu-ray hardware and software, but underscored its role in the manufacture and authoring of Blu-ray discs, and the factors driving the acceptance of this next generation HD format.
Blu-ray Disc — Revolutionizing Home Entertainment
The rapid and continued growth of High Definition Television (HDTV) has sparked consumer demand for both pre-recorded HD movies and the ability to record HD content at home. With its high 50 GB capacity, Blu-ray discs can accommodate the high recording bit rates needed to deliver pristine picture quality and lossless audio, for a true home theater experience. The BD format has gained the support of leading Hollywood studios, to include Twentieth Century Fox, Buena Vista, MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony Pictures and Lions Gate.
A significant advantage of Blu-ray is its backward compatibility with other video formats. With Blu-ray products consumers may continue to enjoy all the existing DVD formats.
The format also allows for the presentation of multiple entertainment content, such as games, movies and music, on one disc. Blu-ray’s enormous capacity lets users record and store video, digital photos, music and data for playback on multiple devices and computers, and enables the seamless movement of HD content across platforms
“Just as it did with DVD, Panasonic is again leading the way, this time revolutionizing the HD experience for consumers,” said Reid Sullivan, Entertainment Group Vice President for Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “Building on our strength in product development, software and hardware manufacturing, we look to deliver next generation products that bridge a consumer’s entire digital world — from movies and music, to video and data.”
At a press conference held here during the 2006 International CES, Panasonic announced plans for a Summer, 2006 launch of a next-generation Blu-ray player that will play back all existing DVD formats as well as new high-definition Blu-ray Discs being produced by Twentieth Century Fox, Buena Vista, MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony Pictures and Lions Gate. The Blu-ray announcement was accompanied by news of company plans to deliver next generation televisions, including 1080p displays and other high-definition units that are expected to further spark interest in Blu-ray and HD recording.
To meet consumer high-definition recording needs, Panasonic also announced plans to introduce a series of blank 50GB and 25GB rewriteable and write-once Blu-ray discs this spring. The new discs utilize a dual layer structure first introduced by Panasonic in the Japanese market in 2004 that helps realize the large 50 GB capacity — more than ten times the capacity of conventional 4.7 GBDVD discs.
The home player and media announcements follow Panasonic’s introduction last October of the world’s first Blu-ray disc drives for notebook and desktop computers that can write and read single- and dual-layer BDs as well as all types of recordable DVDs and CDs, and the company’s November 2005 introduction of the industry’s highest record/play-compatible BD chipset.
To meet the anticipated needs for blank media by both movie studios and consumers, Panasonic has already begun production of both 25GB and 50GB dual-layer BD Discs at its Panasonic Disc Manufacturing Corporation facility in Torrance, CA. According to Sullivan, “We’ve been working closely with the movie studios and our replication partners for some time, to help fine tune our disc capacity requirements. And, we’ll be ready to meet the needs of both content providers and consumers as Blu-ray hardware comes to market.”
The Blu-ray format is supported by consumer electronics manufacturers representing 85% of the industry; the majority of major motion picture studios, to include Twentieth Century Fox, Buena Vista, MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony Pictures and Lions Gate; the world’s two largest music companies; and top computer brands Apple, Dell and HP.
Panasonic is a leader in the development of DVD technology and marketing of DVD products, and has introduced some of the most innovative consumer DVD products in the world. Panasonic established a pilot Blu-ray disc production program at the Torrance replication plant earlier this year, was the first to manufacture DVD-RAM discs in the U.S., and has announced plans to open a BD authoring technology center in its Panasonic Hollywood Lab in Universal City, CA.
Based in Secaucus, NJ, Panasonic Corporation of North America markets a broad line of digital and other electronics products for consumer, business and industrial use. The company is the principal North American subsidiary of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC) of Japan, and the hub of Panasonic’s U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. Information about Panasonic and its products is available at www.panasonic.com. Additional company information for journalists is available at www.panasonic.com/pressroom.
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