TSST (Toshiba Samsung storage technology) has moved a step closer to the commercialisation of a Blu-ray Disc drive for PCs with the completion of technical development work, it said yesterday.

Blu-ray Disc is an optical disc format primarily aimed at storage of high-definition movies. A single-layer, single-sided disc can store up to 25GB of data and a double-layer version provides twice the storage space.

Samsung, which is a partner in TSST with Toshiba, said it will launch internal and external Blu-ray Disc drives later this year under its own brand name. A prototype of such a drive was on show at the recent International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas.

At the same show Pioneer unveiled its first commercial Blu-ray Disc drive. The BDR-101A was due to begin shipping this month, however, a delay in the start of Blu-ray Disc licensing will mean it is a little late Pioneer said today, without quantifying the possible length of the delay.

A rival format, HD-DVD, is also being pushed as an alternative format to Blu-ray Disc. HD-DVD can hold 15GB on a single-sided, single-layer disc and counts Toshiba among its strongest backers. TSST announced a slim HD-DVD drive for notebook computers in September last year.