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Panasonic promos 50GB Blu-ray Disc production pilot

Dual-layer player

Matsushita's Panasonic subsidiary has retooled its US Blu-ray Disc (BD) production line to offer not only 25GB single-layer discs but also 50GB dual-layer media, the company said yesterday.

Panasonic's plant, located in Torrance, California, is still in the pilot stage, but the company claimed it is already punching out BDs with a yield of over 80 per cent - so it has to bin fewer than 20 per cent of the discs it produces, which seems rather a lot in the context of a low-cost, mass-market medium.

The company also touted its spin-coating manufacturing process, which uses "readily available inexpensive UV curable resins". They, in turn, result in a "reduction in disc replication costs", Panasonic claimed in a nod toward a key benefit of BD's rival format, HD DVD, which is maintained by its supporters to be cheaper to manufacture than BD.

Panasonic said it will begin sampling dual-layer BDs for industry inspection by the end of the month, and they're likely to figure prominently in the promotion of the format at next January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. BD supporters are expected to announce their product plans at the show after which they will gear up for the format's launch in the Spring. ®

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