MultiRead standard builds bridge between CD-ROM and DVD-ROM

A new specification called MultiRead will protect agencies' existing CD-ROM investments
as the computer industry starts moving to digital video disk storage.


Most new CD-ROM and DVD-ROM devices will carry the MultiRead logo, which means they can
read any CD-ROM, CD-recordable or CD-rewritable disk. But the reverse is not true: CD
devices will not read the new DVD disks. Until now, DVD devices were not expected to be
compatible with recordable CDs either.


"It's a real victory for the end user," said Craig Hanson, spokesman for the
Optical Storage Technology Association in Santa Barbara, Calif., the industry group that
approved the hardware specification. Hewlett-Packard Co., an OSTA member, will administer
the logo program. The firmware specification, initiated by Philips Electronics Inc. and
Hewlett-Packard, sets the parameters by which optical devices read CD-formatted disks.


"Broad compatibility is key to the whole CD-ROM industry, and they've kept that
momentum going with this final version of the standard," said Jerry McFaul, a
computer scientist at the Geological Survey and president of the Special Interest Group on
CD-ROM Applications and Technology Foundation.


Optical devices that meet the specification, including future DVD-ROM and
DVD-rewritable devices, will read CD-ROMs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs as well as audio CDs and
PhotoCDs.


CD-RW drives will be compatible in the future via MultiRead, Hanson said, and many
CD-ROM and CD-R drives will incorporate multiple reading capabilities. Most future DVD-ROM
and DVD-R devices likely will comply with the specification, too, he said.


McFaul said the MultiRead standard is good for USGS, which has invested in CD-R to
replace magnetic tapes as the agency's archival storage medium.


USGS has moved data on thousands of tapes over to CD-R disks, he said. "It would
be short-sighted to buy [systems with] DVD drives that couldn't read those CD-R disks, but
now that problem has gone away," he said.


The initial MultiRead specification from Philips and Hewlett-Packard lacked forward
compatibility for CD-RW drives. Some Hewlett-Packard and Ricoh Corp. devices based on that
noncompliant specification already are in the marketplace, Hanson said.


Yamaha Corp. of America, a large supplier of 4X recorders, plans to deliver one of the
first MultiRead devices--a 4X CD-R, 2X CD-RW and 6X CD-ROM drive--in September.


inside gcn

  • cyber hygiene (Lucky Business/Shutterstock.com)

    Cleaning up cyber hygiene

Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group