TOKYO NEC Electronics Corp. has developed a chip set for optical drives that would bridge the incompatible Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats.
The chip set can drive and process data from BD, HD DVD, DVD and CD discs, according to NEC. The company expects the chip set to help drive makers develop omni-format drives and ease consumers' concerns about multiple drive formats.
If combined with an optical system that supports both formatsfor example, Ricoh is developing an objective lens that can read/write both format discs the chip set could realize real omni-format drives, according to the company.
"Omni-format drives are one target, but we are going to offer the LSI chips at attractive prices to venders who want to use BD or HD DVD functions only. We can produce the same chip set in volume and deliver them to both groups," said an NEC spokesman.
Dubbed SCOMBO, the chip set comprises two LSI chips. One chip is the microPC3360 analog signal processor that controls the optical pickup and reads out data from discs, while the other chip is the microPD63410 digital signal processor.
The chip set reads/writes and processes data from all major disc formats. It can read and write data at 5X the normal speed to and from HD DVD discs and BD discs, at 16X speed to and from DVD discs, and at a 48X speed to and from CDs.
NEC has designed the chip set to be compatible with future drive format updates, according to the spokesman. For example, while the current DVD-RW supports rates up to 6X the normal speed, the chip set supports up to 16X speed.
In addition, the chip set complies with all copy protection schemes for optical disc drivers, said the spokesman. It supports AACS for BD+ and BD-ROM for Blu-ray, CCS and CPRM for DVD, and VCPS for DVD+ discs.
The company will begin producing the chip set the first quarter of 2007, eventually ramping up production to 300,000 units a month.