As companies such as Toshiba, Samsung and LG allude to dual-format Blu-ray and HD DVD players, Ricoh jumps in with a tiny optical device that makes a goes-both-ways player easier to execute. The company said it has created a 3.5mm diffraction plate that can rock pretty much any format, including Blu-ray, HD DVD, DVD and CD without the need for multiple pickups and lenses. Ricoh will offer the technology to all takers by the end of this year.
A spokesman for the company also said this diffraction device, which will sit between the laser and objective lens, will make it possible to not only build switch-hitting players that can deal with all the optical formats, but recorders as well. Ricoh said it will offer the device for players first, and burners will come along later as soon as blue lasers with higher power are rolled out. By then, hard disks will be so cheap the entire issue of burning data onto slow, removable media—regardless of its format—will be irrelevant.