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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.

Appeared on: Thursday, March 18, 2004
CeBIT 2004 Exhibition

1. Welcome

CeBIT 2004 Coverage

Directly from the exhibitors booths

This article will evolve as the CeBIT 2004 show goes on and the CdrInfo representatives get in touch with more exhibitors and have the chance to talk to more of the participating companies.


Sonic Mam-e
Plasmon Sentinel
Plextor Asus
Waitec LiteOn
NEC Pioneer
Ricoh MSI



Please press on each manufacturer link above to see new and updated information directly from this year's CeBIT, Hannover.

The weather this year is rainy over here, so please stay warm and comfortable and enjoy our photos and descriptions as if you were here...

2. BenQ


BenQ showcases its 16x DVD recording speed and its new double-layer DVD recordable technology at CeBIT. BenQ is scheduled to launch the DW1600 with 16X DVD+R along with 2.4x DVD+R double-layer recordable technology by June. The same drive will also support –R recording with a firmware upgrade, available in mid July.

The BenQ DW1600 incorporates the latest EFM Frequency Divider mechanism that allows high data frequency to be transmitted to the OPU without the loss of partial signals, delivering stable writing quality at high recording speeds. The following snapshot of the BenQ drive's writing performance with 16x media. The glitch which appears at the 1Gbyte mark is the affect of the EFM mechanism.

In addition BenQ will introduce the BenQ QVideo 2.0 DV/TV/AV recording tool.

The product roadmap continues with the DW1620, which comes with 16x DVD+R and 8x DVD-R writing. Availability is expected in August 2004. Last but certainly not least, the DW1650 will be the first BenQ drive to support the Seriall-ATA interface. The recording speeds will be the 16x and 8x for +R and –R respectively. In addition, the company plans to provide 4x recording for DVD+R9! The drive will hit the market in September 2004.

BenQ introduced the DVD+R double-layer technology, based on the Philips reference design. According to the company, the new technology will remain backwards compatible with existing DVD video players and DVD-ROM drives.

The DW822A is currently available on the market, and supports 8x DVD+R and 4x DVD-R writing. BenQ offers a firmware upgrade for the drive making it DVD+R9 compliant, at 2.4x writing speed.

The next model is a pure DVD+R9 burner: The BenQ DW830A supports 8X DVD+R, DVD+R double-layer at 2.4x recording speed, and is scheduled to be released in May. Through a firmware upgrade available in Q3, 2004, the DW830 will be able to support 4x DVD-R/DVD-RW recording. In addition to the double-layer recording capability, the BenQ DW830A features its smart WOPC II (Walking Optimal Power Control) technology that dynamically detects writing quality and adjusts the burning parameters to the optimal burning power for best writing quality. Moreover, BenQ’s exclusive BLER OPC (BLER Optimal Power Control) mechanism dynamically manages the block error rate to assure the outer-disc writing quality.

3. Philips


Philips demonstrated double layer DVD recording as well as 16x DVD recording for DVD+R. Double layer DVD+R technology has been jointly developed by Philips and Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM), doubling the data capacity of recordable DVD to 8.5GB.

The companies had to overcome significant technological challenges for recording on to two layers. Development of the appropriate double layer organic media (MKM), the logical formatting as well as the hardware implementation of the technology were issues to be faced.

One challenge to overcome was to minimize the interference between data recorded in the first layer while recording on the second layer. In addition, the first layer requires the use of a transparent thin metal layer that will allow the light beam to penetrate onto the second layer without affecting the first layer. Towards this direction, MKM developed new materials used for the spacer layer, the transparent metal reflector.

According to the standard, reflection back off any layer must be above 18% to ensure proper operation, especially in the case of defective media where the surface may have fingerprints for example and the signal must be strong enough to overcome losses caused by any defects. This also applies to dual layer writing, where part of the signal destined for the second layer is absorbed by the top layer. Here, Philips has managed to achieve 50% reflection, well above the 18% minimum.

Another issue with dual layer media is the addressing strategy which must be implemented. When writing on a dual layer disc, logically the entire 8.5Gbytes appears as one contiguous stream. Physically this is not the case however, and this poses a problem when part of the disc is left unrecorded. Any part of the disc that is not been recorded on, must be "de-iced", ie filled with dummy data, which is similar to formatting a hard disk for example.

The reason for this has to do with compatitbilty. For example, take a disc on which the entire first layer and part of the second layer have been written on. When this disc is then read, and a seek on the first layer to some point further ahead is requested which will move forward to a point on the second layer, there are two possible methods the reading drive can adopt (the standard itself does not define what the behaviour in such a situation should be). The first is to seek forward until it reaches the end of the first layer, switch to the second layer (OTP), continue seeking forwards until it reaches the desired point.

The second method is to simply jump from the first layer, at the point from which the request is made, directly onto the same position on the second layer and back up until it reaches the desired position. If the point at which the switch from the first layer to the second layer is made, the second layer has not been "de-iced", the reading drive will not be able to determine its position since there is no address information available on the unwritten portion of the disc. Hence, de-icing the unwritten parts of the disc simply allows a drive using this approach to navigate the entire drive without "getting lost".

Philips uses a single laser diode for recording on the two layers. Recording is done at 2.4x for both layers, since higher speeds would require more power. Currently, the laser power for recording at 2.4x has been kept lower than 30mW for both layers. So the drive only adjusts the laser focusing point in order to record on the first or the second layer. In addition, the data-to-clock jitter is less than 9.0% for both layers.

The first Philips drive to support double layer is the DVDRW885. The drive support 8x writing for DVD+R (4.7GB) Z-CLV, 2.4x CLV for DVD+R9 (8.5GB), 4x for DVD-R, 2x for DVD-RW, 4x for DVD+RW, 24x CD-R and 10x CD-RW.In the reading part, the supported speeds are 12x on DVD-ROM, 7x on DVD+R DL, 7x on DVD+R, 7x on DVD+RW,7x on DVD-R, 7x on DVD-RW, 40x on CD-R, 32x on CD-RW. Of course, the drive uses a different laser diode for CD recording/reading. Availability on the market is expected by May.

We witnessed a demonstration of a dvd video compilation written onto double layer media which took a little over 39 minutes (7.034 GBytes). The recorded disc was then played on a standard dvd player for confirmation, where both layers were read without problems.

Below you can see the NeroCDSpeed reading graph of th erecorded DVD+R9 disc:

Transfer Rate

Start 3.15x

End 6.44x

Average 5.01x

Type CAV

The first Philips 16x DVD+RW burner is the DVDR1640, to be available by June. The drive records at 16x CAV on DVD+R media, and also is capable of DVD+R9 writing. The basic features include the Dynamic Calibration to ensure writing quality at high DVD speeds, the Seamless Link technology and and the Optimum recording speed feature that selects the appropriate writing speed for any recordable disc. The detailed specifications of the new drive are available below:

Philips Nexperia reference kit

Laser diodes

4. TDK


While TDK is not a drive manufacturer, they are one of the best known and respected manufacturers of storage media. We visited TDK, who while present at the CeBIT exhibition do not have a stand as such, preferring instead to use a suite at a nearby luxury hotel for any presentations, which are arranged by appointment.

At the hotel suite, we were given quite an extensive presentation by TDK?s European Senior Marketing Manager, Jean Paul Eekhout, who outlined his plans for TDK?s European market. Amongst them is a new facelift for the packaging of TDK CD and DVD media. The driving force behind such a move is an attempt to provide a more consistent look while at the same time making it simpler for consumers to more easily identify a product from amongst the wide variety of media formats available on the market.

As the photo above shows, the media format is clearly discernible, as are the capacity and speed markings. The layout itself will be consistent across all CD and DVD media, and will also use colour to help create product identities. The design is very clean and is a marked change from the overly cluttered packaging we have become used to on virtually all manufacturers media packaging.

Apart from the more common formats, including support for both DVD+R and DVD-R media, TDK will also support DVD-RAM and BLU-RAY. BLU-RAY is seen as being an investment in the technology of the future, while DVD-RAM, according to Mr Eekhout, accounts for only 3% of TDK?s European sales, a figure that is not as high as had been expected for this type of media considering the success it has had in the Asian market. Despite this, TDK seems committed to supporting DVD-RAM.

TDK has no plans to bring out DVD dual layer media at this early stage of this format?s life cycle. So currently the position is one of wait and see.

An interesting innovation from TDK is a ScratchProof coating which gives added protection to disc media?s surface and UV Proof which protects against ultra violet rays. The ScratchProof demonstration was quite impressive, when steel wool was rubbed on the disc?s surface and no noticeable scratches could be seen. We have taken a sample with us, which we will be putting to the test as soon as we return to our labs, to see how it performs.

5. GEAR Software

GEAR Software

GEAR SOFTWARE has a suite of CD / DVD burning software that caters to all levels of users, ranging from home up to IT and professionals. We managed to meet with GEAR?s CEO, Mr Frederick W. Wrightson and Senior Vice President Arthur (Sam) Plummer at the DVD+RW Alliance stand where GEAR is presenting its software.

GEAR?s suite is delivered in 5 flavours ?
  • GEAR PRO mastering edition
  • GEAR PRO professional edition
  • GEAR.wrks toolkit

  • Apart from this, the company also supports the UNIX/Linux platforms and plans to put a lot of effort into this market where it believes there is a lot of open space, especially amongst big users who are interested in good quality software coupled with stability, and are willing to pay for it.

    6. BTC


    BTC did not exhibit dual layer or 16x recorders, taking a wait and see attitude until the dual layer market becomes more established, and instead added the flash reader interface to the already existing line of 8x dual DVD recorders.

    The DRW1108IM drive offers
  • 8x DVD+/-R
  • 4x DVD+/-RW
  • 12x DVD ROM
  • 40/24/40 CD-RW
  • The same drive is available with USB2.0 7 in 1 card reader and A-Type USB extension port and is named DRW 1108IB.

    7. CD / DVD Media

    CD/DVD Media

    Mitsubishi Chemicals/Verbatim

    Mitsubishi Chemicals/Verbatim were present at Cebit 2004 in the DVD+R Alliance booth. The company has declared that it has already started the mass production of Dual Layer DVD+R media. They are the first manufacturer who has managed to start production of this format. Conversely, the various Taiwanese manufacturers have suffered delays in the production of this format due to the difficulties faced in production line changes required for this type of media. Furthermore, Mitsubishi spent a lot of resources in developing a special spacer material used between the two layers.

    The company will not produce 12x DVD+R media since this speed is not in the official specifications and with there are few drives supporting this speed, but will instead go straight to 16x. 12x drives will use existing 8x DVD+R media pushing the tolerances to their limits. For 16x media, new dyes and technology will be used in the production process.

    At present the company is awaiting for approval of the double layer format for DVD-R from the DVD forum before proceeding with the production of the respective media. There is no real difference between the manufacturing process between DVD+R9 and double layer DVD-R. The real difference lies in the logical and not the physical addressing scheme employed.

    Also available is DVD-/+R media which allows speeds of 8x. Verbatim is also continuing to innovate in the field of DVD+RW media with the announcement that they have created the technology behind 8x DVD+RW media.

    CMC Magnetics

    CMC Magnetics was also at the exhibition. Some of its new products are illustrated below:

    DVD-R media capable of 12x recording. 12x DVD recording is not officially in the standard, consequently they have been included for marketing purposes.

    CMC Magnetics has declared that it will support 16x speed for DVD-R media.This is a rewritable DVD-RW media capable of 8x recording. But we will have to wait for the first drives due somewhere around June.


    8. AOpen


    Aopen currently offers one of the most complete PC related product ranges in the market with motherboards, graphics cards, PC cases, Video converters and of course optical storage drives. Starting from the CD-RW/combo drives, the Chameleon series comes with two extra black and silver front bezels to match your PC case. The basic specifications of the drive include 52x CD-R writing, 32x CD-RW, 52x CD-ROM and 16x DVD-ROM.

    Below you can see the company's optical storage product roadmap.

    In the DVD range, the new DRW8800 is currently available on the market, coming with (Z-CLV), 8x DVD±R, 4x DVD±RW (CLV), 32x CD-R and 16x CD-RW. The drive is available for around €150.

    As with the majority of manufacturers, AOpen will not offer any 12x DVD+R burner, and will proceed to the 16x model. The DUW1608/AAR supports the following speeds:

    Availability on the market should be expected by July. Price will be somewhere around €180.

    Video converters/VGA Cards

    9. DVD+RW Alliance

    DVD+RW Alliance

    The DVD+RW Alliance was at full strength in this year’s CeBIT exhibition in Hanover. There were a number of new, innovative products on display with perhaps the big news being the availability of dual layer DVD+R drives due sometime in spring.

    We also saw 8x and 16x DVD+R/+RW drives. 16x is the maximum speed for DVD media due to the limitations of the polycarbonate material used in the production of DVD media, when exposed to high rotation speeds (10,800 rpm). Philips demonstrated the new DVDRW885K 8x DVD+R burner with 2.4x DVD+R9 writing support. The kit has been announced to be available in Europe in April, bundled with DVD+R9 media by MKM. In addition, Philips demonstrated the DVDR1640K, capable of 16x recording on 4.7GB DVD+R media and 2.4x for DVD+R9. More information about Philips technology is available here.

    In an all-in-one booth, products have been displayed and demonstrated by Ahead, BenQ, CyberLink, Gear Software, HP, Maxell, Mitsubishi Chemicals, Ricoh NTI, Sony etc. Below you can see the new 8x8 DVD recorder from HP:

    NTI demonstrated three new versions of Backup NOW!, CD-DVD Maker V6.7 Gold Suite and NTI Dragon Burn for Mac OS. The Backup NOW! Deluxe Suite is addressed towards Corporate Backup/Recovery on client PCs, with new data encryption features. The new version of the CD & DVD-Maker Gold Suite offers a comprehensive set of tools for capturing and creating videos or slideshows; as well as image-level and file backup recovery. +VR support for DVD is also supported.

    Maxell showcased its new 5x DVD-RAM and 8x DVD±R media. The discs will be available by April/May. In addition, the company will produce DVD+R media for double layer recording, but probably later than August (mass production), due to the increased requirements in the manufacturing/designing process.

    Sony showed the DRU-700A, an internal DVD/CD rewritable drive supporting DVD+R DL.

    For more information about the companies in the DVD+RW Alliance booth you can visit the corresponding pages in this section.

    10. AccessTek


    Accestek expands its optical storage product range with new ATAPI DVD burners, combo drives and slim type DVD recorders for notebooks. The successor of the DD0401 is the new DD0405. The new feature here is 8x recording for DVD-R. The drive shares the same internal components as the DD0401, but its firmware is upgraded to support 8x DVD-R burning. Soon after the release of the drive onto the European market in a couple of weeks, Optorite will offer a free firmware upgrade for the DD0401, adding 8x DVD-R recording capability.

    Optorite is among those manufacturers that have chosen to support the 12x recording speed for DVD+R. Although support for 12x speed has currently been announced only from Plextor and LG, the company takes this first step before proceeding to 16x DVD+R recording, waiting until the market has matured and the availability of the 16x media is more widespread. The upcoming DD1203 will be available by July. The basic specifications are available below:

    A firmware upgrade could also be released, allowing the DD1203 to burn at 12x for DVD-R.

    The company's top product is the DD1601. Available by August, the drive will be a 16x DVD+R burner with double layer recording capabilities (DVD+R9). Of course, the availability of double layer DVD+R media will be the key factor that will determine the exact release date of the DD1601.

    As in the case of previous Optorite DVD recorders, the 12x model (DD1203) will be based on the Sanyo chipset. For the DD1601, the company will possibly cooperate with Philips.

    11. Sony


    Sony has presented at CeBIT its first Blu-ray Recorder, the BDZ-S77. The device is already available on the Japanese market at the price of €11500.

    Below you can see the recorder's rear panel.

    The blu-ray discs at this moment offer a capacity of 25GB for the single layer but in the future there will be dual layer which will provide 50GB.

    Above you can see a prototype HD-Rom, while below is presented some information regarding the blu-ray disc, as it was displayed in Sony's booth.

    In Sony's booth you can also see the company's new standalone DVD recorder.

    There are also the models with built in Hard Disk Drive, the RDR-HX8 and RDR-HX10 with 160GB and 250GB capacity respectively.

    Lastly, Sony has a new dual layer DVD recorder, the DRU-700A. The drive uses Mediatek's chipset. The company is planning to release it in June.

    12. Sonic


    Sonic is a California based company, specialising in DVD authoring software. Their background is heavily rooted in the entertainment industry and their software has been used by professional studios and post-production facilities around the world. They offer an extensive range of products for the consumer market which includes:

  • MyDVD - DVD Creation Software
  • DVDit - Publish on DVD
  • CinePlayer - DVD Playback software
  • PrimeTime - burn DVDs of your recorded TV shows in Windows XP Media Center Edition
  • Backup MyPC - automated, easy-to-use data protection and disaster recovery for single computers or small home networks
  • Record Now - complete audio and data recording solution
  • Drive Letter Access - easily drag-and-drop your files directly to a recordable CD or DVD disc and make the disc compatible with almost any Windows computer
  • The company also provides a complete range of products for professionals, corporate and small businesses, as well as a set of developer tools known as Authorscript.

  • Sonic DVD Producer™ - The DVD standard for multimedia professionals on Windows.
  • Sonic DVD PrePlay™ is a powerful, Windows-based, DVD-Video proofing system for professional DVD authoring studios and replication facilities.
  • Sonic DVD Fusion - The DVD standard for multimedia professionals on Macintosh.
  • Sonic Scenarist® - The standard for feature film DVD production on Windows.
  • Sonic DVD Creator® - The standard for feature film DVD production on Macintosh.
  • Sonic SD-series Encoders - The professional range of hardware encoders for Mac and Windows.
  • Sonic AutoDVD™ - An easy one-button solution to produce DVDs from a video source.
  • Sonic DVD-Audio Creator™ - The world's first full-specification DVD-Audio authoring workstation.
  • Sonic ROM Formatter - The complete solution for premastering ROM content in the DVD-ROM format.
  • When we visited the SONIC booth, we were given a demonstration of SONIC's RecordNow. One of the main features of this product is its ease of use. The company spent a lot of time and research in producing a package that would be simple enough to use for any type of home user. It uses drag and drop, and within a couple of mouse clicks, you are burning your data or audio on your media.

    13. Mam-e


    MAM-E, based in France, has put a lot of effort into setting up their facilities. They control every aspect of the production process, enforce strict quality control guidelines and have invested heavily in R&D. They have developed their own dye, di-pyromethene which is used in the colouring layer during the manufacture of the media, having licensed the original technology with exclusive rights from Mitsui Chemicals.

    Having such control over the production line places them in a very advantageous position, however it has created delays while they ironed out quality problems in the production line and hence the late arrival on to the market of 8x and 16x media.

    Their DVD-R media will support speeds of 8x and 16x, and the 16x media will support slower speeds, including 12x, thanks to the new dye.

    Overburning will not be possible at these speeds however, due to the fact that DVD-R is too sensitive and would prove unreliable. This is something that holds true for all manufacturers media. 8x DVD-R media should be available from MAM-E in approximately one month and 8x DVD+R in around two months time. MAM-E will be one of few manufacturers who will be paying royalties to Philips for rights to produce DVD+R media. There will also be support for Blu-ray sometime in the future.

    MAM-E produces its own stampers but also sells stampers to others. They will be producing media for the TEAC label.

    14. Plasmon


    Focused on the industry market, Plasmon’s booth was full of professional data storage equipment. The capacity and price of these special towers are beyond the normal user's imagination. One tower only is able to contain about 20 TB of data, so its high price makes it unapproachable to the normal user. It is interesting, though, to have a closer look at the technology used by today's forerunners as this is what in a couple of years will have become more commonplace among the average users desktop.

    Using UDO (Ultra Density Optical) technology, Plasmon drives can provide decades of professional and reliable storage for archived data. The drives are available in three different configurations: accessory drives for Plasmon G-series libraries, internal drives for integration in third party systems and external stand-alone drives. They all use "blue-laser" technology.

    Blue laser technology offers 30GB of storage on dual face, single layer, 130mm, cartridge contained optical discs. UDO media, consequently, offer a three-fold increase in storage capacity compared to previous generation MO (Magneto Optical) and DVD technologies. The removability of UDO cartridges, combined with the on-line media management capabilities of optical storage libraries, means that scalability is essentially unlimited. UDO has fast 25-millisecond random access capability, facilitating timely retrieval of relevant data. This is outside the reach of today's non-DVD-RAM based PC and consumer optical drives.

    An 8KB sector size optimizes read/write performance by operating at Constant Angular Velocity (CAV). During both reads and writes, the media spins continuously at the highest possible rate. In rewritable applications, UDO features a unique direct overwrite capability, doubling rewrite speeds by eliminating the need for a dedicated erase pass.

    As we have already posted on our news section, a special optical disc proposed by plasmon has been chosen by NASA as the optical storage data transportation medium for the unmanned mission to Mars. The disks are already on the Martian surface.

    A UDO library in action.

    Increased demand for the availability of more UDO media in the market, due to some recent large volume sales to major American and European companies, resulted for a need of a second media supplier. So, Plasmon has recently licensed its technology to Verbatim. The latter will soon become the second authorized UDO media provider in this new and expanding market.

    15. Sentinel


    Sentinel is a Belgian CD and DVD media manufacturer, widely known for its quality products. In the DVD media market, Sentinel offers a comprehensive range of products in both the write once and rewritable DVD media, keeping pace with rapid developments in the market. The stampers used for its DVD+RW media come from Philips. Focused on DVD+RW development, Sentilel supports that this format will replace the VHS.

    Sentinel has demonstrated 8x DVD +/-R and 4x DVD +RW media. As for CD media 52x CD-R and 16x Ultra Speed are also available.

    16. Plextor


    Plextor is possibly one of the few manufacturers that will support the 12x DVD+R recording speed, with the upcoming PX-712A. The company will launch the drive by May, targeting the market share before the first 16x DVD+R burners become available. The PX-712A uses Sanyo's chipset. It supports 12x P-CAV write for DVD+R (with potential for 16x CAV in the next model), 8x DVD-R, 4x DVD±RW and 48x24x48x for CD-RW. The Burn Proof Buffer Underun protection combined with an 8MB cache ensure the recording stability with CD/DVD.

    The already introduced GigaRec, SecuRec and Silent Mode features are also supported through the updated PlexTools Professional v2.12. New here is the updated Q-Check feature. Beta/Jitter measurements as well as PI and PO error rates for DVD media are currently available through PlexTools. As in the case of the previous version of the software, users will be able to enjoy these features only with the PX-712A drive used as a media reader.

    Plextor will also release some 8x DVD+R media (Taiyo Yuden) that will be used for recording at 12x. The 12x speed can be achieved more easily in hardware than the 16x, while 8x media can in most cases be used for 12x writing, as long as the writing strategy and the media combination are appropriate. We might see some problems with some 8x DVD+R brands, but firmware upgrades are in the pipeline for supporting more media IDs.

    The drive will be available with white and black bezels.

    In addition, the PX-712A will be available with a serial-ATA interface. Codenamed PX-712SA, it offers exactly the same features as the IDE model, and its price is expected to be slightly higher.

    Below you can find a preview of the new PlexTools Proffessional v2.12 bundled in the PX-721A retail package. The P-CAV writing strategy is clearly indicated with the red line on the graph (write simulation):

    Beta/jitter tests for DVD media.

    PI and PO errors on DVD media

    17. Asus


    Asus has declared that it will have available in July a dual layer recorder which will also support 16x DVD+R recording. In the beginning it will be offered with an IDE interface but later a S-ATA is planned.

    In May there will be a version available for 12x DVD+R recording.

    The 8x dual DVD recorder is already available on the market.

    18. Waitec


    Below are shown the new products from WAITEC, as they are presented at CeBIT 2004.

    The company has declared that the 16x DVD recorder will be available in September. There will be no 12x recorder.

    By the next month the dual 8x recorder will be available at the price of €99.

    Below are some other products from Waitec.

    The standalone devices below are DVD+R recorders, the Vision HRDI and Vision HR. Both recorders can also playback all the media formats.

    19. LiteOn


    The company has declared that its upcoming dual layer DVD recorder will hit the market sometime in August, and will have a chipset from Mediatek. The SOHW-832S offers: DVD+R 8x, DVD+RW 4x, DVD+R9 (double layer) 2.4x, DVD-R 8x, DVD- RW 4x.

    The following standalone recorder, the LVW-5005 can record DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW media. It also supports reading of all the formats. It has a 54MHz/10-bit video D/A converter and a 192kHz/24-bit audio D/A converter. For convenience, it has both USB2.0 and IEEE1394 input interface, while it also has an S-video input and output, composite for both input and output and optical and coaxial digital outputs.

    20. Nec


    NEC demonstrated their HD-DVD recording proposal for high-definition video. Visitors had the chance to see the new external drive playing a HD video connected to a plasma screen. It is most probable that the HD-DVD will use Microsoft's WMV9 encoder for high quality video. The main difference between HD-DVD and its competitor, Blu-Ray, is the different modulation codes and the codecs that will be used for video (MPEG-2 for Blu-Ray). Although the specifications have not been finalized, the drives are expected on the market in 1-2 years from now, at an estimated price of US $3,000 - 4,000. The IDE version illustrated in the picture below will be bundled with burning software as in the case of the red-laser DVD burners. Ahead's Nero is one of the candidate packages, without however final decisions having been made yet.

    In addition, the company showcased the upcoming ND-2510 ATAPI DVD burner. The drive uses an NEC chipset and supports DVD+R9 recording at 2.4x. The ND-2510A will be available by May/June 2004, so it will probably be the first dual layer burner on the market.

    21. Pioneer


    Pioneer demonstrated a mock-up (prototype) drive for double-layer recording. The company is currently developing its technology for writing on two layer DVD media but the implementation in hardware is expected by the end of 2004, where the DVD-Forum is expected to approve Pioneer's proposal.

    A pre-recorded dual layer DVD-R disc was played back on an unmodified DVD player, demonstrating layer switching and playback of video content coming from both layer 1 and 2. Below you can see the recorded Dual Layer DVD-R (8.5GB, 2x). The disc was made by MKM, as in the case of the +R9 format.

    22. Ricoh


    Ricoh's latest dvd recorder on the market is the MP5308D, released last week, at the price of €129. We visited Ricoh's booth in order to see the upcoming 16x DVD+R recorder, which will also support dual layer recording for DVD+R. 8x recording for DVD-R is also supported by this model, due to market demands. This model will cost aproximately €180 and will be available sometime in Autumn.

    Ricoh will also release on the market, 16x DVD+R media in Autumn. Additionally, the company plans to produce its own dual layer media.

    The following standalone players/recorders will be available from Ricoh only as OEM.

    23. MSI


    Although MSI started with motherboard development, it now offers a large range of products. Mp3 players, VGA cards, Laptops, DVD drives, server platforms, home theatre systems and other devices complete a great variety of products.

    MSI will also launch its 12x DVD recorder in May. MSI DR12-A allows users to work at 8 different formats, such as DVD+R writing speed at 12x, DVD+RW rewriting speed at 4x, DVD-ROM reading speed at 12x, CD-R writing speed at 48x, CD-RW rewriting speed at 24x and CD-ROM at 48x. It's also a DVD Dual writer supporting both DVD+R/+RW and DVD-R/-RW discs, all in one drive. The MSI DR12-A features the ABS Technology (Anti-Bumping System) which can absorb shock and reduce vibrations to make the reading and writing of discs more reliable. MSI DR12-A also supports HD-BURN (High Density Burn) technology that enables recording twice the capacity of specified CD-R discs.

    The K8T GEM motherboard supports the new 64-bit AMD processor. The motherboard has the VIA K8T800 Pro +8237 chipset with 1000 MHz HyperTransport.

    MSI Mega 180 and Mega 865 offer HiFi stereo, Home Theatre functions and high performance PC functions.

    24. DVD-RAM Pavilion

    DVD-RAM Pavilion

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