Philips plans to show a Blu-ray disc drive at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that has backwards compatibility with CDs and DVDs. Currently still a prototype, the device reads and writes CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs. Philips expects the drives to ship in the second half of this year.

[The drive] uses a triple-laser optical pick-up unit in which separate infra-red, red and blue lasers share the same optical pathway to provide Blu-ray Disc read/write capabilities as well as read/write compatibility with DVD and CD.

Blu-ray discs are expected to become available in versions with up to 50 GByte of space on dual-layer discs and 25 GByte on single layer versions. Sony, credited with the invention of Blu-ray, said that its technology will scale to 100 GByte in 2007 using four-layer technology and later up to 200 GByte with eight layers.

Currently, the technology is being backed by many important players, such as Hewlett-Packard, Thompson and Disney. The rival to the format, HD-DVD, also seeks to become the successor to the DVD format, and has similar backing from other industry players.