The DVD+RW Alliance, including HP, Philips, Sony and Ricoh, displayed a united front yesterday at the CeBit tradeshow in promoting its standards for DVD+RW (DVD rewritable) for PCs and video recorders.
The group also announced DVD+RW/+R (rewritable/recordable) products from some of its members, including those mentioned above.
"Our commitment is to delivering standards that are easy to use, such as DVD+RW/+R. DVD+R represents the next evolutionary step in the DVD+RW format as the best choice for video and data storage," said John Spofford, vice president and general manager for HP's consumer entertainment solution division and chairman of the DVD+RW Alliance.
The DVD+RW/+R combination drives let users create custom CDs and DVDs from one drive. The DVD+RW/+R format also begins to address the serious issue of storage with new technologies such as optical disc authoring software, which allows for editing directly on DVD+RW discs, bypassing the PC's hard drive, Spofford said.
DVD+RW is also backed by a variety of vendors such as Dell and Thomson, but faces competition from another format, the DVD-RW standard, which is being pushed by the DVD Forum, including Pioneer and other companies.
The DVD Forum has published its own standard specification for DVD and rewritable formats such as DVD-RW. DVD+RW is a competing system and not an official DVD Forum format.
Frank Simonis, commercial director at Philips' optical storage division, acknowledged the competition between the standards but rejected the idea that one overarching standard could be created by blending the existing standards.
"As for today, two standards do exist, but to merge them would create a third standard and won't have consumer benefits. We do not believe that there is a format war going on. Any confusion on the user end is very limited, we believe," Simonis said.
According to Simonis, by the end of the year, there will be 160 million playback devices on the market, the majority of which will be compatible with DVD+RW.
What's coming up?
Alliance members laid out various plans for releasing DVD+RW/+R products with the ability to store up to 4.7GB:
Philips says it will also be shipping its 'living room DVD+RW/+R recorders' — the DVDR980 for about £800 and the DVDR985 for approximately £870— around the same time.
Most of Sony's products come from Ricoh anyway, though Sony is currently working on its own DVD+RW product.