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New Blu-ray Disc Players to Support Firewire

1394’s Bandwidth, Quality, Reliability are Keys to Blu-Ray Connectivity; Demonstrates FireWire’s Major Role in New High-Definition Revolution

The introduction of 1394-equipped Blu-ray Disc products this year represents a significant new milestone for the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) standard, the 1394 Trade Association said today.

Consumer electronics leaders including Samsung Electronics, Sharp Electronics and LaCie have introduced HD-capable 1394-equipped Blu-ray disc technology. Other World Computing also is offering a new Blu-ray drive, and other companies will soon follow. Consumers will be able to use 1394 to transfer high-definition video to HDTVs or computers as Blu-ray drives record them from video and digital broadcasting sources.

“Blu-ray is becoming an important piece of the high-definition architecture — and so is FireWire,” said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association. “There is no better way to move large volumes of high quality audio and video than by using 1394’s superior quality of service, reliability and high bandwidth. The new 1394-equipped Blu-ray products deliver optimal recording and connectivity for the consumer, and they provide another excellent example of FireWire’s enduring benefits.”

Sharp Electronics in February introduced a $1,260 Blu-ray recorder equipped with 1394 connectivity that uses the tuner on Sharp televisions to record high-definition TV programs, which eliminates the cost of adding separate tuner on the device. Sharp BD-HP1’s hybrid recording function works with the 1394 connections on Sharp Aquos LCD TVs and Aquos HD Recorders.

Also launched was the 1394-equipped LaCie d2 Blu-ray drive, with 50 GB storage, a DVD/CD writer in a single drive. Compatible with both Windows and Mac, the d2 Blu-ray Drive comes with Roxio burning software and FireWire connectivity.

In late March, Samsung Electronics introduced the SE-B046, an external burner with a 1394 port designed to record from 1394-enabled set-top boxes or computers. The drive writes BD-R discs at 4X and BD-RE at 2x. It uses a second laser to handle DVD and CD burning. Also, Other World Computing released the 1394-equipped Mercury Pro 2x Blu-ray Panasonic SW-5582 external drive that also holds 50 GB of data or high-definition video per disc.

Many of the new Blu-ray products are not immediately available but will be moving to the market later this year.

The Blu-ray Disc records high-definition images from video software and digital broadcasting sources and delivers high-definition, high-resolution images and high sound quality. Blu-ray offers up to 50GB of storage capacity and enables playback, recording and rewriting of HD in all of the HD resolutions including 1080p. The format also supports HD audio formats and lossless audio. In addition to the greater video and audio quality, the extra storage capacity means there is room for additional content and special features.

The Blu-ray format has won support from leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers worldwide, including Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Pioneer, Sharp, JVC, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, TDK, Thomson, LG, Apple, HP and Dell. Content providers are also very supportive — major movie studios such as Warner, Paramount, Fox, Disney, Sony, MGM and Lionsgate have announced titles for Blu-ray. And the format will be available in the next-generation PlayStation 3 (PS3) video game console.

“This support from the consumer electronics manufacturers and studios makes Blu-ray a truly universal standard, and now we are seeing 1394-equipped products that can read and write CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs using a BD/DVD/CD compatible optical head,” Snider said. “Both Blu-ray and 1394 are pivotal parts of the HD equation.”

The 1394 Trade Association will feature its latest home networking demonstrations at WinHEC 2007 at the Los Angeles Convention Center May 14-15 in booth 632. The 1394 Trade Association is a worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement and enhancement of the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) standard. For more information please visit http://www.1394ta.org

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