"...Prototypes of DVD+RW drives and recorders that use a 12-cm optical disk were demonstrated here this month by a group of seven companies. Claiming better compatibility with the existing DVD read-only infrastructure than rival formats, the group plans to carve out its share of a consumer market already occupied by the DVD-RAM, DVD-RW and DVD-R/RW recording formats. Recorders based on the new 4.7-Gbyte standard for rewritable DVD disks will be launched this summer, followed by drives for PCs this fall. Hewlett-Packard, Mitsubishi Chemical (Verbatim), Ricoh, Royal Philips Electronics, Sony, Thomson Multimedia and Yamaha Corp. make up the group.
In the consumer sector, Philips is the most active, with the completion of a video recorder prototype, and it plans to market the final design this summer, said Chris Buma, program manager of Disc Recording at Philips Consumer Electronics. Philips is also preparing to market drives. Also on the drive front, Ricoh will introduce this fall a DVD+RW drive that can write to CD-R and CD-RW disks as well as DVD+RW disks. Just as the rapid expansion of the CD-R/RW drive market was supported by the widely spread CD-ROM drive infrastructure, the companies intend to promote the DVD+RW format as the recordable format with the highest compatibility with DVD read-only drives and players.
Sony is a member of both the RWPPI and the DVD+RW groups and the company plans to use both formats. For the European market, where DVD+RW will be promoted strongly, Sony plans to introduce DVD+RW. For the Japanese market, where Pioneer and several other companies are already promoting DVD-RW format recorders, Sony also aims to introduce a DVD-RW recorder. "Sony intends to introduce a recorder that can write and read in both DVD+RW and DVD-RW formats," said Toru Takeda, general manager of technological strategy and development at Sony Core Technology & Network Co. "The difference between DVD+RW and DVD-RW is trifling when compared to the difference with DVD-RAM," said Takeda. Just changing firmware and a slight modification of the LSI — just about several percent of the total gates — will ensure compatibility between DVD+RW and DVD-RW, said Takeda..."