HP drops 3GB DVD+RW

Posted on December 01, 1999

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HP drops 3GB DVD+RW

Zachary Shess

Last month, Hewlett-Packard discontinued production of its 3GB DVD+RW drive, culminating a year of overall stagnation in the rewritable DVD optical drive market. Citing a lack of market demand, HP will instead focus on delivering a 4.7GB model, but would not commit to a ship date. In June, HP announced plans to ship the 3GB model by the fall.

HP officials maintain that the installed base for DVD-ROM readers and players has not reached their projections primarily because of a lack of applications to drive higher capacities. In addition, most consumers and OEMs for now are content with CD`s 650MB capacity. Couple this with a lack of DVD titles and a booming rewritable CD (CD-RW) market, and the incentive to pursue sub-4GB rewritable DVD drives is simply not strong enough, says Kevin Saldanha, DVD+RW product manager at HP`s Loveland, CO facility.

"The prospects for creating a storage medium that you can share widely don`t exist on DVD today, and probably won`t for a while," Saldanha contends. "In 12 to 18 months, we anticipate that there will be emerging applications that will begin to consume the higher DVD capacities. Then, a 4GB or 4.7GB device will fit those needs quite well."

While industry analysts, including Mary Craig of Dataquest in San Jose, CA, agree that the DVD-ROM market "is extremely soft," significant hurdles need to be overcome before DVD can reach its potential.

For example, drive and media costs need to be lowered and the stalemated standards battle needs to be settled.

"The cost of DVD drives and media are so high that they`re only available to niche markets, but across the mainstream markets, the demand for DVD is simply not there yet," Craig says.


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