The drive, for use in computers, will be presented at thethis week and will be available in the second half of 2005. It comes as electronics giants jockey for support of their new DVD systems.
Many film studios had expected thatwouldn't hit the market until 2006.
The Dutch company, together with a group of other powerful electronics makers including Sony, Hewlett-Packard and Dell, is proposing the Blu-ray format, which can store up to 50GB of data on a disc.
This level of storage allows film publishers to put a full-length movie in the high-definition format on one disc.
Another group led by Toshiba and Sanyo proposes the HD (high-definition) DVD standard they have developed. That technology has less storage, but inventors say it's cheaper and will be ready soon.
Some film studios have already come out in support of specific formats. Disney and Sony Pictures, while Warner-Bros, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures give support to HD DVD. Support by the studios, however, is not exclusive and is still seen as undecided.
The new Philips drive has three lasers, including Blu-ray's blue laser, which has a shorter wavelength than current red lasers, allowing for a thinner light beam that can read and write smaller bits of information on a disc.
Philips is the world's largest lighting maker, a top-three hospital equipment maker, Europe's biggest consumer electronics producer and the region's No. 3 in semiconductors.