OSTA tackles rewritable DVD

OSTA tackles rewritable DVD

Zachary Shess

The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) formed a subcommittee last month to begin developing a read compatibility specification among the divergent rewritable DVD formats. By the end of the year, members of the Writable DVD Subcommittee plan to deploy a specification that enables conforming CD and DVD optical drives to read specified writable DVD media from competing formats such as DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, and DVD-RW.

DVD market development has been slowed by competing drive and media formats, says OSTA facilitator Ray Freeman, and creating a compatibility specification should help alleviate roadblocks to widespread DVD acceptance.

Other OSTA members, including Masataka Ogawa, director of business planning with Sony Electronics, in San Jose, acknowledge buyer hesitation, but believe the combination of high prices and a relative lack of product have also slowed CD to DVD migration.

The Writable DVD Subcommittee is comprised of 35 representatives from 29 companies that include leading DVD drive and media vendors such as Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Maxell, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Ricoh, Sony, Toshiba, Verbatim, and Yamaha.

Drawing from OSTA`s experience creating the Universal Disk Format (UDF) and MultiRead specifications, Freeman expects a spec to be finalized by the end of the year, with compatible products hitting the street in the first half of next year.

"I don`t believe creating a spec will be a slam dunk at all, but I consider the importance so great that we should undertake it," says Freeman. "If you put the right people around a table and are united in trying to find a solution, you`ll often surprise yourself."

Freeman says the participants are primarily interested in having their respective technologies be interoperable with each other, as opposed to hammering out an agreement on one universal standard.

The new subcommittee members also expect to develop a test plan enabling device manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with the new spec. The subcommittee will develop a suite of test disks and tools to help manufacturers with compliance testing.

This article was originally published on February 01, 1999