Feeds

NEC demos first next-gen DVD drive with one red, blue head

Compatible with today's DVDs

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

NEC has built the first optical storage drive to support not only today's DVDs but tomorrow's High Definition blue-laser technology-based discs, the company said today.

The machine uses a single optical head that contains one lens fed by two semiconductor lasers: a red one for backward compatibility with current DVD technology and a blue one for HD DVD.

NEC has something of an advantage here: its blue laser technology, co-developed with Toshiba, was recently voted to form the basis for the next generation of DVD technology by the standard's governing body, the DVD Forum.

Sony has already begun shipping its rival blue-laser optical storage format, which it calls the Professional Disc for Data (PDD) format. However, while Sony is initially pitching the product at high-end storage applications, NEC and Toshiba have their eye on the next generation of DVD-ROM and recordables.

While the Sony system encases each 23GB disc in a cartridge, NEC/Toshiba HD DVD discs do not - just like today's CDs, DVDs, and DVD-R/RW and DVD+R/RW discs. Crucially, NEC said, that will make it easier to build the technology into consumer electronics devices and computers, particularly notebooks.

Don't hold your breathe, however. NEC will be demonstrating its drive at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month, but it doesn't expect to be shipping it until 2005. The first units are likely to be PC-oriented products. Consumer products may take longer - NEC acknowledged that the timing of the technology's release into the mass market depends on how quickly content producers support the format.

Two HD DVD format specifications are currently being promoted for standardisation. One is the ROM disc with 15GB of storage capacity on a single layer and 30GB on dual-layer media, and the other is a rewritable disc with 20GB of storage capacity. In November, the DVD Forum's steering committee approved the proposed HD DVD-ROM format in version 0.9. ®

Related Stories

Toshiba blue laser tech chosen for HD DVD spec.
China unveils 'DVD killer' video disk format
Next DVD spec. to offer Net access not more capacity
Sony ships blu-ray 23GB storage system

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.