Leading the charge toward the next generation of optical disc-based high-definition media, Sony Electronics has begun shipping its 25GB (GB = Gigabyte) single layer Blu-ray Disc recording media with AccuCORE technology. In addition, a dual layer 50GB capacity disc is set to debut in June.

Sony's AccuCORE technology, which was first integrated into recordable DVD media over a year ago, has been re-engineered for Blu-ray Discs to deliver enhanced reliability and durability. Its major benefits include:

Scratch Guard -- hard coating that resists scratches, dust and static;

Archival Reliability -- special material design that prevents data and image corruption and deterioration to ensure quality playback;

Stable Writing -- a uniform and precise cover layer that reduces fluctuation as the disc spins; and

Temperature Durability -- a high-precision disc structure helps prevent warping during severe changes in temperature and humidity.

Sony's Blu-ray media also supports a 2x recording speed, which provides a high data transfer rate of up to 72 Mbps, making it ideal for high-definition video recording and data storage applications.

In addition to media, Sony will soon offer a wide range of Blu-ray Disc devices, including a Blu-ray Disc player, VAIO desktop and notebook computers, and an internal Blu-ray Disc drive.

With devices such as these, you could conceivably edit high-definition video shot on a Sony HDV camcorder on a Blu-ray-enabled computer, then burn it onto Blu-ray Disc media, and finally play it back on a Blu-ray Disc player.

Sony is not new to the blue laser-based format. The company released the world's first Blu-ray Disc recorder and media in Japan in 2003. The following year, Sony helped found the Blu-ray Disc Association, which now has over 160 members and contributors from various industries, to promote the new format.

Sony has been producing Blu-ray Disc recording media in a cartridge format for several years, but has recently begun producing bare discs for the launch in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The BD-R (write-once) 25GB and BD-RE (rewritable) 25GB recording media have suggested retail prices of $20 and $25, respectively. The soon to come BD-R 50GB and BD-RE 50GB recording media will have suggested retail prices of $48 and $60, respectively.