Faster DVD+RW discs coming by mid-year

Faster-performing DVD+RW discs should be available by mid-year, backers of the standard said at Cebit.

Consumers can look forward to a new range of high-speed rewritable and double-layer discs, recorders and drives hitting stores in the second quarter of the year, members of the DVD+RW Alliance said at a news conference during the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany, on Thursday.

DVD+RW (DVD+rewritable) 8x products will be able to copy a full DVD in under eight minutes, while double layer DVD+R (DVD+recordable) 8x products will be able to copy an 8.5G-byte double-layer DVD in about 15 minutes, said Frank Simonis, strategic marketing director of Philips Optical Storage, which is part of Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV.

The DVD+RW Alliance is a group of over 70 vendors promoting compatibility for optical disc storage technologies. Among the vendors, Philips is expecting to introduce DVD+R into the market in May, he said.

The new DVD+RW speed is twice that of the previous generation, which was introduced in 2003. The previous speed for double layer DVD+R was 2.4x, and media and drives first went on sale in May last year, according to Andreas Kuesters, marketing manager at Ricoh Europe.

The venerable DVD format may face challenges later in the decade from next-generation disc formats such as Blu-ray and HD-DVD, both of which offer much higher storage capacities for recording HD (high-definition) content. But DVD will remain the mainstream technology for storage for at least the next two to three years, given that some people are still switching in the process of switching from VHS to DVD, he said.

A near-complete version of the double layer DVD+R specification was finalized in February, and version 1.0, considered the version that vendors can start to build products with, will be ready by the end of April, Simonis said.

Despite being a relative newcomer to the market in 2001, DVD+RW is included in all PC drives and in 55 percent of consumer recorders, Rioch's Kuesters said.

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