DVD recordables are catching up with and passing CD-Rs, CD-RWs

DVD recordables are catching up with and passing CD-Rs, CD-RWs

Even though CD-rewritable drives are just starting to become standard components on new PCs, they soon might be squeezed out by competition from recordable DVDs.

The advantage of a DVD over a CD-ROM disk is capacity. A DVD can hold many times more information'4G compared with 640M to 700M for CDs.

At the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas in November, about 50 companies showed off their burnable DVD wares ranging from standard internal single drives to high-capacity, high-speed burners that can load hundreds of blank disks at once.

But the PC industry is holding back. Jason Huang, business development manager for the storage division of Acer Communications and Multimedia America Inc. of City of Industry, Calif., said PC users are not demanding the new drives.

'I don't see a trend away from CD-recordable in the near future,' Huang said. 'For most people, 640M of storage is all they need. They won't be willing to spend extra money for storage capacity.'

Acer's forthcoming DVD burner will cost about $699. Its CD-RW drives sell for about $149. DVD media will also cost more: about $10 per disk compared with less than $1 for a CD-R blank.

Works for feds

Specialized uses such as e-mail backups, however, might call for the DVD format, Huang said, and government agencies could be early adopters.

Currently there are three competing DVD formats. Disks burned in one format don't necessarily play on incompatible DVD drives. Nevertheless, some makers predict that DVD burners will catch up with or even outpace CD-R and CD-RW drives within a few years.

Isa von Schmidsfeld, vice president of marketing for Vivastar AG of Sweden, said her company recently opened a U.S. headquarters in Boston to promote interoperable DVDs created on Vivastar drives and usable with readers of the three competing formats.

Schmidsfeld said that within two years, users will be demanding interoperability. Although Vivastar's cross-format DVDs currently cost $11 each, she said that would drop rapidly.

'What you have now in the DVD-R field is the same development cycle that occurred when the music industry moved from tape to CDs,' she said.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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