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IFA 2005 report

Welcome to our Blu-ray and HD-DVD coverage of Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) 2005, the world's largest electronics and IT show, which was held from September 2-7, 2005 in Berlin, Germany.

Welcome to IFA 2005 held at Messe Berlin
from September 2nd to September 7th, 2005
Over 250,000 people visited IFA 2005 Over 1,200 exhibitors
were at the show

Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA)

We started out at the joint booth of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), where a lot of BDA member companies were showcasing their products. We were impressed by both the number of products on display as well as how advanced the prototypes are becoming, with support for interactive features, online content, networking, etc. As you will see in this report there was a wide range of Blu-ray players, recorders, drives, writers, media and software on display, which quite clearly shows how broad the industry support for Blu-ray Disc is. Overall everything seems to be coming along nicely.

The BDA is currently in the process of finalizing the BD-ROM specification, which they expect to be finished sometime later this year. According to one of the BDA representatives at IFA, AACS is the main reason that the BD-ROM specification still hasn't been finalized. They are also busy preparing their testing and validation services for the Blu-ray launch to ensure that all products conform to the Blu-ray Disc standard. While they're still hoping for unification, it's getting more and more unlikely as any changes to the format would likely push back the PS3 and Blu-ray launch.

Blu-ray Disc Association booth at IFA

BD vs DVD comparison

Blu-ray Disc media
(no cartridges)
Blu-ray Disc Association members and contributors Video of BD-ROM disc manufacturing

Panasonic (Matsushita)

Panasonic had a very strong presence at IFA with a wide variety of Blu-ray Disc products on display. Among other things Panasonic had two working prototype BD players, one regular and one slim version, that were playing HD movies and showing off the interactive features of Blu-ray. They were also showing their DIGA-brand DMR-E700BD BD recorder, multiple BD/DVD drives, various BD media, as well as the OPUs for their drives.

Panasonic's exhibition Panasonic demonstrating interactive features
while playing "I, Robot" in HD
25GB and 50GB BD-ROM and BD-RE media
Panasonic's prototype BD player (BDP100?)

BD player from behind

Panasonic's slim prototype BD player

Panasonic's BD recorder (DMR-E700BD)

Panasonic's BD/DVD multi drives (half-height, slim slot, slim tray) Panasonic's half-height and slim OPUs


Philips also had an interesting Blu-ray Disc section, where they among other things were showing their upcoming Blu-ray Disc triple writer which reads and writes all BD/DVD/CD formats. They were also displaying a BD player, BD recorder and various BD media. According to the Philips representative at the show they plan to release their Blu-ray Disc triple writer in the US in spring 2006, with their Cineos-brand BD player (BDP9000) following shortly after. Finally, they will release their Blu-ray Disc recorder (IPS01) sometime after the writer and player.

Philips' exhibition Philips' Blu-ray triple writer (BD/DVD/CD) 25GB and 50GB
BD-ROM media
Philips' Cineos-brand BD player (BDP9000) 25GB and 50GB
BD-R media
Philips' prototype BD recorder (IPS01) 25GB and 50GB
BD-RE media


Samsung displayed their upcoming BD player (BD-P1000), which is scheduled for release sometime early next year. They also displayed two different BD recorders, one regular model (BD-R1000) and one with a 400GB HDD (BD-HR1000). The BD/HDD recorder also features wired/wireless networking capabilities for transferring MP3, JPEG and DivX files from a PC.

Samsung's BD player playing HD content

Samsung's BD player (BD-P1000)

Samsung's BD recorder (BD-R1000)

Samsung's BD recorder with tray open

Samsung's wireless network BD/HDD recorder Samsung's BD/HDD recorder (BD-HR1000),
which features a 400GB HDD
Laptop connected to the BD/HDD recorder


JVC was showcasing their BD/DVD hybrid media (33.5GB), which was developed to ease the transition from DVD to Blu-ray by creating a disc that will play in both BD players and DVD players. The hybrid disc is basically a single-layer BD-ROM (25GB) and a dual-layer DVD-ROM (8.5GB) in the same disc, which can be read in both players as the Blu-ray layer is transparent to the red laser used in a conventional DVD player.

A JVC representative offered a live demonstration where he first put the hybrid disc in the BD player and played the video in high definition (HD), he then transferred the disc to the conventional DVD player which seamlessly played the same video in standard definition (SD). According to the JVC representative the BD/DVD hybrid will be part of the BD-ROM specification, which was also confirmed by a BDA representative at the show.

JVC demonstrating BD/DVD hybrid in their
BD player and DVD player
JVC's BD/DVD hybrid media
(25GB BD, 8.5GB DVD)
JVC's new high precision bonding process JVC's prototype Blu-ray Disc recorder


Sharp yet again displayed their AQUOS-brand BD/DVD/HDD recorder (BD-HD100), which is currently only available in Japan. The recorder features a BD drive, DVD drive and a 160GB HDD which can be used to record up to 19 hours of HDTV. We were not able to get any more information about other upcoming products based on the Blu-ray Disc format.

Sharp's exhibition Sharp's Blu-ray Disc recorder playing HD content BD/DVD/HDD recorder information
Sharp's AQUOS-brand BD/DVD/HDD recorder (BD-HD100) Sharp's BD recorder from behind


Pioneer had a prototype BD player (BDP-1000) and a BD/DVD writer (BDR-101) on display. The BD writer supports recording of BD-R/BD-RE at 2x speed (72Mbps), DVD±R at 8x speed and DVD±RW at 4x speed. The drive also reads BD-ROM discs at 2x speed and DVD-ROM discs at 12x speed.

Pioneer's prototype BD player (BDP-1000)

Pioneer's Blu-ray Disc writer (BDR-101)


Sony showed an advanced prototype BD player and various BD media in their section of the BDA booth. The Sony representative at IFA also demonstrated that the BD player supports interactive features.

Sony's section of
the BDA booth
Sony demonstrating playback of HD movies and interactive features
Sony's prototype BD player

25GB and 50GB BD-ROM, BD-R, and BD-RE media


Hitachi showcased their prototype BD/HDD recorder and some media. When asked about their plans for the recorder the Hitachi representative informed us that it was unlikely to be commercialized in this form, but that they planned to introduce other Blu-ray products sometime next year.

Hitachi's exhibition Hitachi's prototype BD/HDD recorder Maxell's BD media
BD-R, BD-RE (8cm)


Yamaha had a BD/DVD/HDD recorder on display, which looked strikingly similar to the Philips BD player (BDP9000) also featured at the show. We found it kind of strange that they would use the same design for a recorder as for a player.

Yamaha's prototype BD/DVD/HDD recorder


TDK displayed various BD media including their prototype 100GB BD-R disc. We also got a live demonstration of the effectiveness of their Durabis hard-coating technology, which when applied to a disc protects it from scratches, dust and fingerprints.

TDK's section of
the BDA booth
100GB BD-R media 25GB and 50GB BD-R and BD-RE media
TDK Durabis information

TDK's Durabis hard-coating put to the test


Verbatim was featuring Blu-ray media using their new BD-R dye technology, which they've developed together with Pioneer. The new organic based dye which has been proposed to the BDA will allow manufacturers to reuse some of their existing DVD production equipment and reduce the overall production cost of BD-R discs. The discs on display were also using Verbatim's Scratch Guard hard-coating technology.

Verbatim's section of
the BDA booth
Verbatim's new low cost BD-R dye technology 25GB BD-R and BD-RE media


LG didn't have any player or recorder on display, only some 25GB BD-R and BD-RE media. When asked about their plans for the future we didn't get any specific details.

LG's exhibition

LG's 25GB BD-RE and BD-R media

CyberLink & HP

CyberLink and HP were demonstrating Blu-ray Disc playback and burning on HP hardware in their joint section of the BDA booth. At the show CyberLink also announced that PowerDVD, PowerProducer, Power2Go, and InstantBurn are already Blu-ray ready.

CyberLink and HP demonstrating
playback of Blu-ray movies
BD/DVD/CD writer with LightScribe technology


Nero was also at IFA demonstrating Blu-ray Disc playback and burning using Philips Blu-ray Disc triple writer. They recently announced that their Nero Burning ROM, Nero Express and Nero ShowTime software packages now support BD.

Nero's booth

Nero's software now supports BD playback and burning


Sonic announced broad support for Blu-ray Disc in their Roxio-branded software products, including CinePlayer HD, InterActual, DigitalMedia Archive, Easy Archive and DigitalMedia Studio. They also announced support for Blu-ray Disc and BD-J in their AuthorScript development kits (SDK), which will enable third party companies to easily incorporate support for Blu-ray Disc into their products.

Sonic's section of
the BDA booth
Sonic demonstrating playback of Blu-ray movies and advanced
interactive features in their Roxio-branded software


Toshiba was showing off a reference model of their HD-DVD player and a selection of HD-DVD media including a HD-DVD/DVD hybrid disc. They originally planned to release a HD-DVD player in the US later this year, but it was recently moved back to March 2006. However, they still plan to release a HD-DVD player in Japan later this year.

When checking out their HD vs SD demonstration we noticed that they were having some minor technical problems, so we asked the person running the presentation about it (not a Toshiba official). He informed us that every time they wanted to play a HD-DVD they would have to wait for about 20 seconds before the playback actually started. He also said that they had to shut down the player every 30 minutes to let it cool down. According to the representative the player had been shipped directly to the show from Japan, so we guess it's possible that it had been damaged on its way to IFA.

Toshiba's HD-DVD
Toshiba displaying a reference model of their
HD-DVD player (HBS-A-001?)
Toshiba's HD-DVD player from behind SD vs HD demonstration HD-DVD media formats HD-DVD/DVD hybrid media (15GB HD-DVD, 5GB DVD)


NEC was displaying their HD-DVD drive (HR-1100), which they plan to release in the US early next year. They also hinted that they might release the HD-DVD drive on the European market before the US, possibly for Christmas this year. Please note that this HD-DVD drive is for playback only (not a HD-DVD writer).

NEC demonstrating the interactive features of HD-DVD HD-DVD media
(NEC, Maxell, Verbatim)
NEC's internal
HD-DVD drive
NEC's prototype standalone HD-DVD drive HD-DVD drive (HR-1100) HD-DVD media
(NEC, Maxell, Verbatim)

Final words

That's the end of our IFA 2005 report, we hope you enjoyed it. We'd like to thank all of the companies and exhibitors at IFA that answered our questions and allowed us to take photos of their products.


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