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Tuesday, December 09, 2003
OSTA to expand scope of recent joint DVD compatibility study

The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) announced it will expand the scope of a recent DVD compatibility study jointly conducted by OSTA, the DVD Association (DVDA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The first round of testing produced findings demonstrating that the quality of recordable DVD media plays the key role in compatibility.

By implementing a second phase of testing in conjunction with major DVD drive and media manufacturers, DVDA, NIST and OSTA are continuing their partnership by providing an impartial process for measuring and improving compatibility to assist DVD media and drive manufacturers in achieving the goal of 100 percent compatibility.

The committee, which was formed in the fall of 2002 to specifically address compatibility issues, has been collaborating with leading media and drive manufacturers to develop an industry-wide solution based on a regular series of compatibility and physical tests, the results of which are provided to OEMs for analysis and feedback. The group constantly examines a wide variety of media types, recordable DVD drives, DVD-ROM drives, and consumer DVD players, and defines objective testing methodologies and parameters aimed at assisting OEMs in identifying possible problems between specific brand media and drive models.

"It is essential that consumers, as well as DVD media and drive manufacturers, put the results of this latest compatibility study into proper context," said David Bunzel, President of OSTA. "Our findings indicate that the most critical factor in all DVD disc and drive compatibility tests is the quality of media, not the format or brand of drive. When high-quality DVD recordable discs are used, the compatibility rate surges to over 95 percent. OSTA will continue to work with the DVDA and NIST to help manufacturers achieve 100 percent compatibility. In the meantime, we recommend that consumers purchase high-quality DVD media to avoid potential incompatibility problems."

A DVD disc is deemed compatible by OSTA if it is recorded on one device, and plays back flawlessly on another. Moreover, a recordable DVD is considered compatible if its playback quality is equivalent to the playback of pressed discs with identical content. OSTA's second phase of compatibility testing, which is now under way, will analyze the performance of the top 75 percent of DVD recordable drives and players now available to consumers, as well as the latest 4X media. OSTA plans to release the results of this testing phase in the first quarter of 2004.

Here are the highlights of the OSTA compatibility testing:

* Currently, levels of compatibility are similar across both the "dash" and "plus" DVD formats. As a result, consumers should not be concerned about compatibility differences between specific formats. Furthermore, many multi-format drives are now available in the market.

* The use of high-quality recordable media in DVD-ROM drives, regardless of the brand of drive or DVD recording format used, greatly increases the overall compatibility rate.

* Newer drives and players available today offer higher levels of compatibility.

"Six years ago, OSTA collaborated closely with media and hardware manufacturers to test CD-R compatibility, and CD-R ultimately became almost universally compatible with consumer and PC playback and recording devices," said Subutai Ahmad, Chairman of OSTA's DVD Compatibility Committee and Vice President of Engineering at YesVideo. "The same situation applies today to the state of DVD recording and playback technologies. OSTA recognizes that these same efforts need to be duplicated to ensure 100 percent widespread industry compatibility for recordable DVDs, and we are committed to working with major drive and media manufacturers to make that happen."

OSTA welcomes the involvement of consumer electronics manufacturers involved in the production of recordable DVD drives and media. All OSTA members have the opportunity to receive detailed test results on all tested drives and media. OSTA may be contacted through the organization's Web site at Representatives from OSTA's DVD Compatibility Committee will also be on hand at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 9, 2004, between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., in the Meeting Place section of the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall, #21547, to meet with interested manufacturers who would like to learn more about or become involved with the organization's testing efforts.

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