Pioneer, JVC develop hybrid DVD-RW/ROM

Pioneer and Victor Co. of Japan (JVC) have developed a hybrid DVD disc that features both rewritable (RW) and read-only data storage areas, they said this week at the Ceatec Japan 2004 show.

The system, which was unveiled this week at the Ceatec Japan 2004 show, expands on a feature present in existing DVD-RW discs, said Shinji Suzuki, an assistant manager at Pioneer's research and development center.

The feature is a read-only area towards the center of each disc that holds a few kilobytes of information relating to the disc and other functions such as copy control, he said. The new discs expand on this area to enable the storage of much more information. The boundary between the read-only and rewritable area can be set at any point to divide the 4.7G-byte space wherever is desired, he said.

Envisaged future applications for the system include discs for computer games that can include the game itself and an area for user data associated with the game, such as a high score or game history, to be recorded.

Nonworking prototype hybrid discs were on display at Ceatec, which is taking place this week in Chiba, west of Tokyo.

There are no current plans for commercializing the discs. Before that can happen the hybrid format needs to be finalized and then submitted to the DVD Forum for standard approval -- a process that can take between 12 months and 18 months assuming there are no objections from other member companies, said Suzuki. The companies currently lack a time frame for its submission.

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