Sanyo's HD-Burn doubles CD recording capacity

Sanyo Electric has introduced a CD drive which can read and write twice the normal amount of data onto a conventional CD-R disc, the company announced Wednesday.

When data is recorded with the CRD-BPDV2 drive for HD-Burn, a 700M-byte CD-R can hold 1.4G bytes of data. This will allow the recording medium to hold up to two hours of video, according to a Sanyo representative, who declined to give his name.

This allows users to record more data at low cost. At retail stores in Japan, CD-Rs are priced around ¥120 (US$0.98), while DVD-R costs about five time more.

Sanyo's HD-Burn technology increases the data storage density by increasing the number of useful pits into which data is burned.

First, the individual pits are made smaller. Second, an improved error correction system enables a greater proportion of the pits to be used for data and less for error-correction.

"This error correction system used to take up a large area of the disc," the Sanyo representative said. "In an extreme example, let's say, out of 100 signals, in which you can use as data, the error correction system used to use up about 30 of them but now, by using a new compression technology, it can be reduced down to 10."

The new RSPC (Reed-Solomon Product Code) error-correction system is used rather than the CIRC (Cross-Interleaved Reed-Solomon Code) system used in conventional CD-Rs.

The resulting disc has to be played back on a DVD system, because of the different recording mechanism used in HD-Burn, and the firmware on the DVD player needs to be changed to be compatible with HD-Burn.

To promote HD-Burn, Sanyo is planning to disclose the technology for free to DVD hardware makers, so that they can produce HD-Burn compatible DVD players.

As for the recording part of the technology, the company is approaching several chip makers and drive makers for licensing.

Sanyo will start taking orders for the sample drives at the end of September. A sample price is ¥50,000. The company plans to start mass production in January next year, aiming at manufacturing 30,000 units a month.

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