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Volume Production Technology of HD DVD-R Discs Established

8 June, 2005


Dye Breakthrough Allows Manufacture on
Standard DVD-Recordable Disc Production Lines

Volume Production Technology of HD DVD-R Discs Established

Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories, Inc.
Hitachi Maxell, Ltd.
Mitsubishi Kagaku Media Co., Ltd.
Toshiba Corporation

TOKYO—A group of four manufacturers today announced successful development of a prototype of a HD DVD-R disc, the write-once next generation DVD disc, that can be easily produced at high volume on standard DVD-Recordable production lines. Hitachi Maxell and Mitsubishi Kagaku Media/Verbatim, two of Japan's leading manufacturers of optical disc media, have separately tested and verified the manufacturability of the write-once discs, which use a new organic dye specifically developed for blue-laser applications, and confirmed the prospect of volume production. The new dye is the result of a joint development project by Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories, a key manufacturer of dyes for DVD-Recordable discs, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media/Verbatim and Toshiba Corporation.

Hitachi Maxell and Mitsubishi Kagaku Media/Verbatim will commercialize HD DVD-R discs in spring next year, at the same time as the launch of HD DVD recorders and PCs with built-in HD DVD drives by hardware manufacturers, including Toshiba.

Development of the new dye by Hayashibara, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media/Verbatim and Toshiba is a breakthrough for HD DVD-R. Standard DVD-Recordable discs use a photosensitive organic dye as the data storage medium in their recording layer. In the transition to HD DVD, manufacturers had to meet the challenge of developing a dye for HD DVD-R discs that could be used with the narrow wavelength of a blue laser and offered sufficient readout stability. The newly developed organic dye is highly sensitive to blue laser light, has the uncompromised readout stability essential for practical use, and the solubility in organic solvent required for easy production of the dye recording layer by a spin-coating process. As the HD DVD-R disc is based on the same disc structure as DVD discs, back-to-back bonding of two 0.6 millimeter-thick substrates, already installed DVD-Recordable manufacturing lines can utilize the new dye in efficient production of HD DVD-R.

Hitachi Maxell and Mitsubishi Kagaku Media/Verbatim have both used the new dye in trial production of prototype HD DVD-R discs (single-layer, 15 gigabytes*) on their current DVD-Recordable production lines, and confirmed that the process can be applied to mass production.

"By combining our cumulative know-how in high-density optical disc technology with the breakthrough of the new dye, we have tested and proven the manufacturability of HD DVD-R discs," said Norio Ota, Executive Officer and General Manager of Development and Technology Division, Hitachi Maxell. "We will prepare for mass production of HD DVD-R on our current lines, in readiness for market growth in applications including HD DVD recorders and PCs with HD DVD drives."

Hidemi Yoshida, Chief Technology Officer of Mitsubishi Kagaku Media said, "As a disc manufacturer involved in development of the next generation HD DVD discs right from the beginning, Mitsubishi Kagaku is delighted to confirm the feasibility of production of dye-based HD DVD-R. DVD-Recordable has grown to be a major market, and we expect to see the same substantial growth in demand for HD DVD-R. We will prepare for mass production to support the forthcoming launch of HD DVD products."

"We are delighted to contribute to expanding the capabilities of the next generation HD DVD format through the successful development of the new dye in cooperation with the partner companies," said Yasuhiro Kotani, Corporate Director of Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories. "In chemicals, where we focus our R&D efforts on functional dyes, our company will continue to develop and provide new dyes based on market requirements."

"I am delighted that the four companies, through their joint work, have proven the manufacturability of an HD DVD-R disc. HD DVD's basic feature of sharing the same disc structure as DVD made a large contribution to this success, and offers more and compelling evidence of our design policy's validity," said Hisashi Yamada, Chief Fellow of Toshiba's Digital Media Network Company. "In 2004 the recordable and rewritable DVD disc market stood at around 1.4 billion discs, and about ninety percent of those discs were write-once discs. The next generation write-once HD DVD disc will be just as important, and I am sure that proving an efficient mass production technology for HD DVD-R discs will provide a big boost for a smooth transition from DVD to HD DVD."

(*) Capacity of a disc is calculated with a basis of 1-gigabyte (GB) = 1-billion bytes.

About Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories
Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories, Inc. (HBL) was established in 1970 to support research and development at Hayashibara Co., Ltd., founded in 1883 as a starch syrup manufacturer. With its proprietary expertise in microbiology and enzymology, HBL has developed a long list of value-added saccharides marketed the world over, and now has expanded R&D activities to pharmaceutical ingredients.
In 1999 HBL merged with the NIPPON KANKOH-SHIKISO KENKYUSHO (NKSK), founded in 1947 as a member of Hayashibara Group, to put emphasis on photosensitizing dyes for photography applications. Now, HBL is striving to expand the usage of functional dyes to a wide range of field including optical discs, solar cells, and organic EL. Visit Hayashibara Group's web site at http://www.hayashibara.co.jp/english/

About Hitachi Maxell
Since its foundation in 1960, Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. has led the electronics industry at home and abroad in the fields of memory and mobility. Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of information storage media products including magnetic tapes, optical disks, and battery products including lithium ion rechargeable batteries, micro batteries and dry cell batteries. Visit Maxell's web site at http://www.maxell.com/

About Mitsubishi Kagaku Media/Verbatim
Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM)/Verbatim is one of the world's leading manufacturers of information storage products. In a line-up of data and image storage media, MKM/Verbatim holds a strong market share in markets such as recordable and rewritable DVD discs, CD-R and CD-RW discs, 90mm and 130mm MO discs, 130mm WORM discs, as well as tape cartridges and floppy discs. Many of these products are marketed through Verbatim group, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of MKM. Visit MKM's web site at http://www.mcmedia.co.jp/japanese/verbatim_group.html

About Toshiba
Toshiba Corporation is a leader in the development and manufacture of consumer products, information and communication systems, electronic devices and components, power systems, and social infrastructure systems. The company's ability to integrate wide-ranging capabilities, from hardware to software and services, assure its position as an innovator in diverse fields and many businesses. Toshiba has 165,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of over US$54 billion. Visit Toshiba's web site at http://www.toshiba.co.jp/index.htm

Press Contacts:
Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories
Public Relations
Kanji Murashima
Tel: +81-86-224-4315
Fax: +81-86-224-4577
e-mail: h-koho1@hayashibara.co.jp

Hitachi Maxell
Business Strategy Office
Takanori Yamashita
Tel: +81-3-3515-8283
Fax: +81-3-3515-8316
e-mail: koho-ir@maxell.co.jp

Mitsubishi Kagaku Media
CEO Office
Shigeru Tamura
Tel: +81-3-5484-3925
Fax:+81-3-5445-4180
e-mail: mkm-pr@mcmedia.co.jp

Toshiba
Corporate Communications Office
Junko Furuta
Tel: +81-3-3457-2105
Fax: +81-3-5444-9202
URL: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/contact/media.htm


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