We Only Need One DVD-Rewritable Standard!

Posted on December 01, 1997

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We Only Need One DVD-Rewritable Standard!

John Hoy

Toshiba America Information Systems Inc.

The DVD-RAM format, defined by the DVD Forum, is the only commercially available rewritable/ removable optical storage technology that meets the computer industry`s immediate and long-term requirements for reliable, high-capacity storage. Plus, it`s read compatible with all types of DVD media.

DVD-RAM was developed by a wide range of companies, including DVD Forum members Hitachi, JVC, Matsushita, Mitsubishi, Pioneer, Philips, Thomson, Time Warner, Toshiba, and Sony. Other leading companies contributed to DVD-RAM`s development to ensure media interchangeability, manufacturability of drives and media, and future capacity expansion.

While other companies have recently proposed different rewritable/removable optical technologies, only DVD-RAM is available now. DVD-RAM format Version 1.0, which supports a storage capacity of 2.6GB per side, has proven media and drive interchangeability through verification tests conducted by more than 20 PC and storage media companies.

And DVD-RAM drives are read compatible with DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, DVD-R, CD-Audio, CD-ROM, CD-R, and CD-RW media, allowing consumers to continue enjoying their existing CD libraries while taking advantage of DVD`s added functionality and performance.

DVD was designed in cooperation by leading computer, electronics, and entertainment companies. It supports the needs of each industry while providing convergence across all three.

This level of cooperative development has ensured broad support for DVD technology. DVD-ROM is already integrated by leading computer OEMs; DVD-Video is enhancing playback of movies in the home; DVD-R supports authoring and archiving applications through write-once capabilities. And DVD-RAM provides unparalleled capacity on a rewritable/ removable optical technology.

Interchangeability is a critical requirement of the computer industry, and DVD-RAM has met this need. In August, Hitachi, Matsushita, and Toshiba demonstrated DVD-RAM interchangeablity to ECMA.

In addition, more than 20 hardware and media companies verified DVD disc and drive compatibility, including Asahi Chemical, Hitachi, Hitachi Maxell, JVC, LG Electronics, Matsushita, Mitsubishi, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK, Tejin Limited, Toray Industries, and Toshiba.

DVD-RAM technology will go beyond the current 2.6GB capacity. Employing the same wobble-land groove technology inherent in DVD-RAM format Version 1.0, the DVD Forum is already working on the next-generation of DVD-RAM, which will support 4.7GB per side. The DVD Forum expects to publish this new specification in fall 1998. And the product road map goes beyond that: Future blue lasers and new media technology will achieve even higher capacities while maintaining read compatibility with other DVD formats.

DVD-RAM technology also lends itself to consumer applications. The DVD Forum is currently considering a format specification supporting more than 4.7GB per side to record sequential data, such as movie and audio information, with revised write/read redundancy capabilities as supported by advanced copy-protection schemes.

The DVD-RAM format is already well on its way to becoming an international standard. In August, the DVD Forum provided full specifications to ECMA and the Japan Industrial Standard. Application to ISO is also planned to establish DVD-RAM as a global standard.

DVD-RAM has successfully passed performance, reliability, and interchangeability tests. Further ensuring market acceptance of DVD-RAM are recent statements from both Microsoft and Intel that indicate their support for DVD technology.

Other recently unveiled technology concepts are far from being real products. The companies backing these technologies have already changed the initial concept, and prototypes have not been tested by outside companies. It is impossible to compare a technology concept to commercialized products. And while these concepts continue in development, DVD-RAM developments will also continue, pushing DVD-RAM beyond where it is today to support future industry needs.

John Hoy is director of strategic alliances at Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. in Irvine, CA.


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