Feeds

DVD Forum ‘approves’ rewriteable HD-DVD spec

Another win for NEC and Toshiba's blue laser tech

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

The guardians of the DVD specification have approved a rewriteable version of the standard that supports high definition images.

The DVD Forum approved the HD-DVD-RW (our name for it) format in Tokyo this week, according to an official of one of the member companies, cited by IDG News.

However, officially, the organisation will only say: "The DVD Forum has so far made no decision to adopt or reject any proposed format for blue laser optical disc applications."

The approved/not approved spec. details a standard-sized, single-sided disc that can hold up to 20GB of data. Today's DVDs, by contrast, hold up to 4.7GB per side.

The alleged approval of the rewriteable version follows last November's Forum vote in favour Toshiba and NEC's blue laser-based technology as the basis of the HD-DVD spec. That technology is also used in the RW spec, which although submitted last November failed at that time to win sufficient support from other Forum members.

The Toshiba-NEC read-only system won the November vote 8:6, thanks to new voting rules that ignore abstentions. It's backward-compatibility with the current DVD spec appears to have clinched the win. That compatibility not only makes it easier for next-generation players to cope with today's DVDs, but will make it possible to re-tool existing DVD production lines for the new technology. Rival HD specifications would have required entirely new production facilities.

The approval of the HD-DVD-RW standard doesn't mean that rival technologies will vanish, of course. Sony's Blu-ray system, for instance, has already started to ship, under the company's Professional Disc for Data (PDD) trademark. PDD offers higher capacities than HD-DVD-RW - up to 23GB of uncompressed data - but encases its 12cm discs inside a cassette. Sony is pitching PDD as a replacement for high-end magneto-optical storage systems.

Blue light is used in both PDD and HD-DVD because it has a shorter wavelength than the red light lasers found in today's CD and DVD drives. The upshot is that the laser can be focused to a smaller spot on the disc's surface, so more spots can be crammed in. Since each spot equates to a single bit of data, so the blue light discs have a higher data capacity than their red-light predecessors.

The DVD Forum has in place a sub-committee tasked with working on ways to bring Blu-ray and its HD-DVD spec. into alignment. It is also researching a second generation of blue laser systems that can read 0.1µm spots rather than the 0.6µm spots of the Toshiba-NEC and Sony systems. To date, no 0.1µm technology has been proposed to the Forum, the organisation said. ®

Related Stories

Toshiba blue laser tech chosen for HD DVD spec.
NEC demos first next-gen DVD drive with one red, blue head
Sony ships blu-ray 23GB storage system

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

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.