At the Computex trade showin Taipei this week, BenQ is demonstrating one of the few working Blu-ray Disc optical drive prototypes at the giant show.

Blu-ray Disc is one of two formats competing to replace DVD and become the optical disc media of choice for high-definition movies.

A single-layer disc can store 25GB of data versus DVD's 4.7GB of storage. The extra capacity is needed because high-definition movies contain several times the amount of data that a standard definition movie contains.

The drive was developed with Philips as part of the Philips BenQ Digital Storage joint venture formed by the two companies in 2003.

A demonstration at the company's booth showed playback of a high-definition video stored on a Blu-ray Disc via the drive. BenQ couldn't provide an estimate of when the drive will be launched or its likely price.

Despite Blu-ray Disc's expected commercial launch being less than a year away, hardware based on the standard is not particularly visible at Computex.

That could be because many of the companies currently working on prototype drives are the big-name Japanese, European and American companies leading the Blu-ray Disc Association and not the relatively anonymous Taiwanese companies that dominate the optical disc market.

Discs bearing the Blu-ray Disc logo and that of the rival HD-DVD format are on display at the show. However, it's impossible to verify if these are true prototypes or simply mock-ups of discs.

On the software side, Nero is demonstrating a version of its Nero disc burning software with support for Blu-ray Disc. The demonstration, which is taking place off the show floor, is being done with a Pioneer Blu-ray Disc drive and a PC running Windows.