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Panasonic has announced the development of the world's first Write-Once Blu-ray Discs (BD-R) capable of supporting up to 6X writing speed. The company will make the new discs available in Japan in July, both in capacities of 25GB and 50GB.

Panasonic was the first company to introduce the dual-layer 1X BD-RE Blu-ray Disc in 2004, as well as the 2X BD-R/RE in 2006, and 4X BD-R in 2007. The launch of the world's first 6X BD-R this year comes to meet the demands of the market, as consumers need to be able to write and read large amounts of data at considerable higher speeds. The maximum data transfer rate featured by the new 6X discs reaches 216Mbps, more than 20% faster than the speed of the 16X DVD-R discs.

The new discs have been developed to provide a wide power margin with no concern whether the writing speed is 1X or 6X. The drive compatibility is greatly improved this way, as the drive's laser power fluctuations have a smaller effect on the quality of recording.

Panasonic is producing well-balanced discs which feature precise signal grooves due to the adoption of newly-developed disc technology. The servo characteristics are improved and the laser beam is able to focus to the right position although the discs rotate fast at ^X writing speed.

Enlarge pictureBy the end of Q3 2008, Panasonic also plans to release its own Blu-ray disc drives compatible with 6X write-once Blu-ray discs. S.Korean already has 6x BD drives for PCs, capable of reading and writing at 6X. The BE06, GBC-H20L and GBW-H20L are the latest models of the series.

The recording specifications of the 6X discs were approved by the Blu-ray Disc Association (Blu-ray Disc Recordable Format Ver.1.3) in March.