TDK has ay announced that it has begun shipping 25GB recordable and rewritable Blu-ray Disc media to retailers nationwide. Retail pricing is set at $19.99 for a 25GB BD-R (recordable) $24.99 for a 25GB BD-RE (rewritable). In addition, TDK will ship 50GB Blu-ray Disc media later this year with retail pricing set at $47.99 for a 50GB BD-R (recordable) and $59.99 for a 50GB BD-RE (rewritable). The single-sided discs are bare, cartridge-free media.The 25GB products are single layer whereas the 50GB products have a dual layer recording material structure. TDK first shipped mass production samples in December 2005, and with the subsequent issuance of the relevant license, the company immediately commenced full force manufacturing. TDK Blu-rayDiscs are manufactured to the highest quality standards at the company's Chikumagawa Techno Factory in Japan. TDK heavily committed its worldwide engineering resources to Blu-ray, and has created new formulations and manufacturing techniques that constitute revolutionary milestones in recording technology. The high-sensitivity inorganic recording material utilized by TDK for the write-once type BD-R is completely different than the recording materials used for CD or DVD. TDK Blu-ray Discs' inorganic material is impervious to light, making the discs exceptionally well suited for archiving data. Composed of copper and silicon, TDK's exclusive recording material is designed to delivers long-lasting performance. The recording material enables fast recording and playback speeds and also makes it possible to realize massive capacities through multi-layering. For TDK's rewritable BD-RE Blu-ray Disc media, a specially designed high-sensitivity phase change recording material is utilized. The material is so stable that a TDK Blu-ray Disc shows virtually no performance degradation even after it has been overwritten 10,000 times, according to TDK. The 25GB and 50GB BD-R and BD-RE discs offer 2x (72Mbps) rated recording speed. Based on simulated acceleration tests, TDK's archival life expectancy rating for Blu-ray Disc media is more than 50 years. Blu-ray Discs were originally released in Japan in April of 2003 with a protective cartridge.The cartridge was necessary in order to protect the recording material, which is manufactured close to the Blu-ray Disc's surface in order to realize the disc's high density recording capabilities. TDK pioneered hard coating technology, eliminating the need for cumbersome cartridges. Every TDK Blu-ray Disc includes DURABIS, a protective hard coating formulation. DURABIS increases the scratch resistance of Blu-ray Disc media by a factor of 100, TDK says, as demonstrated in rigorous testing. DURABIS also resists fingerprints to help eliminate errors caused by disc surface smudges. Because the DURABIS coating technology rapidly discharges static electricity, the discs also resist the accumulation of dust, a potential source of recording and playback errors. TDK Blu-ray Discs provide absolute reliability for perfect recording and playback every time. A 0.1 millimeter thick cover layer comprises the Blu-ray Disc's outermost internal surface, and the recording material resides beneath it. During recording, the laser passes through the cover layer in its path to the recording layer. Absolute uniformity in the thickness of the cover layer is critical to ensuring precise laser tracking, which is required for reliable performance. To achieve total uniformity in the cover layer's thickness, TDK developed an exclusive Spin Coating manufacturing process. With TDK Spin Coating, the cover layer is spun onto the disc at a high rate of speed, ensuring evendispersal of the material.High precision stacking technology further ensures reliability by consistently overlaying disc layers with the utmost precision. TDK's Blu-ray Disc roadmap extends the format's capabilities even further, proving that Blu-ray is truly future-ready. TDK technologies have already enabled creating 100GB, quad-layer Blu-ray Disc prototypes and blazing 216Mbps (2x) speed.The company is in the process of developing the world's first 200GB Blu-ray Disc prototype. TDK is offering its line of recordable 25GB Blu-ray Discmedia in 50-piece spindle packaging that will be available in the second quarter of 2006.