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Wednesday, March 14, 2001
Sony unveils double-density CD-RWs


On Tuesday, Sony unveiled Double Density CD-R and CD-RW drives and discs.

Dubbed DD-R and DD-RW, the discs can hold 1.3GB of data. That is twice the capacity of CD-R and CD-RW discs, which hold 650MB. The technology doubles the capacity of the discs by essentially shrinking the space between the tracks on the media. Sony's new products are an attempt to provide a middle solution between CD-RWs and their giant cousin, DVD-rewritable discs, which offer 4.7GB of capacity. By contrast, Pioneer plans to start selling around May an add-on version of its drive that can play and record both DVDs and CDs. Pioneer's drive is expected to sell for around $1,000, with the discs costing $10 to $20 apiece.

But as long as the industry continues to squabble over a DVD-rewritable standard, DD-R and DD-RW may have a window of opportunity. There are three different specifications being considered by manufacturers: DVD+RW, DVD-R and DVD-RAM. The competing technologies have the potential to fragment the market and confuse consumers with compatibility issues.


DD-R and DD-RW are not completely clear of compatibility issues themselves. The DD-R/DD-RW drive will be able to read and write CD-R and CD-RW discs. But existing CD and CD-RW drives won't be able to play DD-R and DD-RW discs.

"While you can't share DD-R and DD-RW media with CD-RW owners, you can still record onto CD-RW and share that way. So I think they're covered in that sense," Craig Still, Dataquest analyst said.

The Sony Double Density ATAPI CRS200E-A1 is an internal drive with a maximum write speed for DD-R and CD-R of 12X, a maximum write speed of DD-RW and CD-RW of 8X, and a maximum play speed for CDs of 32X

The drives will be available in retail stores by the beginning of April and will cost $249. DD-R discs will cost $1.99 each, and DD-RW discs will cost $2.99.


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