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News in Brief

BENQ OF TAIWAN has brought out three DE305-series DVD recorders equipped with built-in hard disc drives (HDD DVD recorders), aiming to sell 100,000 units worldwide. The three models are the DE305S, the DE305H and the DE305P. The DE305P has the largest storage capacity so far available in Taiwan, according to company vice president Peter Chen, According to the Taiwan-based Market Intelligence Center (MIC), the global demand for DVD recorders will grow from 12.3 million units in 2003 to 25.2 million in 2005.

GET READY for direct to home DVDs. Actor Morgan Freeman and his movie company, Revelations Entertainment, have teamed up with Intel Corp. to try to push Hollywood into broader distribution for movies. Revelations and Intel have set up a home in Santa Monica, Calif., intended to demonstrate to industry executives how movies could be piped directly to TV sets, possibly bypassing theatres altogether.

PROTOP INNOTECH, a manufacturer of optical disc drives in Taiwan which won an OEM order for mini-DVD players from Warner Brothers last quarter, has begun shipments. With a 2.5-inch color screen, the mini-DVD player will take 8cm single-sided double-layer DVD movie discs. It mainly caters to children and teenagers, With a retail price of $129, Warner Brothers apparently sold 200,000 mini-DVD players in just one month.

CLEAR CHANNEL ENTERTAINMENT TV signed its first home video distribution deal with Ventura Entertainment which calls for six newly produced music programmes over a two- year period. CCETV, a promoter of live events including music, theatre, comedy, children's and sports productions, also has plans to secure content from its 32,000 annual events onto DVD.

LITE-ON IT and BENQ are feeling the pressure on OEM prices for 16x DVD burners from Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology with Samsung recently lowering retail prices of its 16x DVD burners by 30% to $69 in the US and European markets. TSST has the competitive advantage of self-produced pick-up heads (PUHs) and chipsets and the design capability to minimize the production costs of DVD burners.

TECHNO SYSTEMS RESEARCH of Japan says Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Lite-On IT, NEC, Pioneer and Philips BenQ Digital Storage were the world’s top five ODD producers in the third quarter of 2004.

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS debuted a play-only DVD machine based on the Blu-ray disc format. The firm plans to market the player for about $1,000 within the year. Sony and Matsushita have already released Blu-ray DVD recorders, but have not yet to rolled out play-only models.