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Diode dearth to hinder Blu-ray Disc drive launches?

Sony wants them all for PS3, report alleges

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Will Sony's PlayStation 3 production ramp limit the ability of optical drive vendors to ship sufficient Blu-ray Disc writers? That's effectively what a report from the Far East today reckons.

At issue is the supply of the diodes used to generate the blue-light laser beams used to read and write data in Blu-ray Disc drives. According to Chinese-language newspaper the Commercial Times - cited by Taiwanese newswire DigiTimes - supply of these diodes is tight.

Yields are not as high as hoped, the paper claims. Both Sony and Nichia - currently the world's only suppliers of the parts - are affected by the same technological teething-troubles that are preventing enough of the diodes coming to market, it adds. That's expected: ramping up volume production of any new technology takes time.

Sony, of course, needs the diodes for the read-only drives that will be used in the PS3, and it has to balance supply with orders from other drive makers. The implication is that, right now, there may not be enough laser diodes to go round.

Samsung, Sony, BenQ, Plextor, Lite-on, Philips, LG, Panasonic and IO Data have all announced Blu-ray writers. In addition, Sony and many of the others are also gearing up to offer Blu-ray Disc players. ®

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