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Panasonic, Sony Fire Blue Lasers

High-definition blue-laser optical-disc recorders are around the corner.

At the CEATEC show, Panasonic displayed working samples of a production-ready blue-laser device that’s ready for use in high-definition optical recording systems.

Panasonic said it will be able to ship production quantities of the device to other suppliers in the spring, when the company said it would also make Panasonic-branded blue-laser recorders available.

Panasonic is developing blue-laser recorders for both consumer and professional uses, but it didn’t say which type would be available in the spring, when a U.S. rollout would occur. Expected pricing was also unavailable.

Panasonic said its blue laser is the world’s first high-power, high-efficiency SHG (second harmonic generation) blue laser, which produces 410-nanometer-wavelength blue-laser light from longer wavelength infrared light.

Two breakthroughs make the technology suitable for high-definition disc recording, Panasonic said. The first is the generation of 30mW of power compared to previous SHG lasers’ 2mW, which isn’t strong enough for disc recording. The second is the reduction of the blue-laser wavelength to 410 nanometers from previous blue lasers’ 425 nanometers, Panasonic said.

For its part, Sony again demonstrated its blue-laser technology, DVR-Blue. The company did live recordings of more than two hours of HDTV broadcasting onto a single disc at a data rate of 20-22Mbps. The demonstrated recorder wasn’t a preproduction prototype, and Sony hasn’t announced a date to introduce commercial product.