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Tuesday, June 10, 2003
OSTA establishes committee with NIST and DVDA to test DVD compatibility

The DVD Association (DVDA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) jointly announced today that the three organizations are participating in a joint DVD compatibility testing initiative to provide an independent, objective reference source for compatibility information on recordable DVD technology.

The DVD Compatibility Committee, established as an OSTA working committee, will announce its goals, test plan, and preliminary findings at the DVD 2003 Conference, June 9-11 in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

According to Oliver Slattery, NIST Scientist, "NIST is committed to resolving issues of standardization for the preservation and distribution of digital information. This includes, among other things, working with industry and government leaders to develop testing guidelines, such as this test plan, to promote greater interoperability between digital media formats and digital playback devices. This study is one of the first steps towards unencumbered dissemination of digital content to consumers and enterprise end-users. It also is a step in addressing the broader concern of the preservation and access of digital content for the future."

"The DVD industry has been wrestling with recordable DVD compatibility issues from day one," said Jim Taylor, president of the DVDA. "This project, with its solid test plan and scientific approach, is very important in helping manufacturers improve compatibility and in winning consumer confidence. The combination of NIST's expertise, OSTA's industry connections, and the DVDA's base of content developers has been perfect for bringing this important work to fruition."

The OSTA DVD Compatibility Committee, which began work in the fall of 2002, is focusing on recordable DVD technology and is rigorously testing a wide variety of media types, recordable DVD drives, DVD-ROM drives, and consumer DVD players. The group is performing compatibility and physical testing, and defining test methodologies and parameters. Throughout the process the committee will work closely with manufacturers to identify root causes of compatibility problems, fix compatibility issues, and provide useful information to consumers and the optical storage industry.

OSTA's Planning Committee will oversee the independent working group. Dr. Subutai Ahmad, Vice President of Engineering for YesVideo, is serving as chairman of the OSTA DVD Compatibility Committee. The committee also includes participants from NIST and the DVDA as well as OSTA. A branch of the US Department of Commerce, the mission of NIST is to develop and promote measurement, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life. The DVDA is a non-profit organization representing more than 5,000 independent content producers.

Members of the committee include Jim Taylor of Sonic Solutions and president of the DVDA, Parker Lee of Sonic Solutions and Chairman of OSTA; Victor McCrary, John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory; Oliver Slattery and Fred Byers, from NIST; Bob Zollo and Lee Prewitt, Software Architects; David Bunzel, president of OSTA and Santa Clara Consulting Group.

Phase I of the test program, currently underway, covers DVD-ROM drives for personal computers. A total of 15 models of recordable DVD-ROM drives and over 40 different media have been selected for this initial test phase, representing approximately 60 percent of the current market share for these devices. Preliminary results for Phase I will be presented at the DVDA's DVD 2003 Conference, with a final report scheduled for September 2003.

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