Sony doubles down
DVD junkies have been clamoring for the double-layer DVD since they first tried to pack an uncompressed, full-length movie onto a 4.7GB disc. Sony, unsurprisingly at the forefront of the next big thing in optical storage, debuted a prototype of what will likely become the market's first double-layer DVD burner at CES. Inaugurating Sony's 700 series, the drive will let users write up to 8.5GB on a double-layer disc--about 4 hours of DVD-quality video or 16 hours of VHS-quality video. Of course, early versions will suffer from the usual limitations: the drive will support double-layer writing only for DVD+R media and at a drowsy 2.4X. The double-layer drive is expected to start burning up retail shelf space this spring, but Sony may have company; BenQ, Pioneer, and Philips are also rumored to have double-layer devices up their sleeves. Drive and media, meet chicken and egg
What good is a drive if you don't have media? It's a fair question, and one with which the industry has long struggled. This week, Verbatim announced that it is "on schedule" to release 2.4X DataLifePlus DVD+R double-layer media in the spring to coincide with the release of double-layer drives like Sony's. I'm optimistic, but cautiously so: Verbatim (and a slew of others) also announced the availability of 8X DVD+R media just this week, some two months after 8X DVD+R drives began to hit the street.
DVD-R pulls even with DVD+R
| | Pioneer DVR-A07 | |
Pioneer's last multiformat effort, the DVR-A06
was not only slower than the competition
, it was sometimes slower than its own predecessor
. Still, I was excited to catch a glimpse of the DVR-A07 on the show floor. Pioneer is hailing it as "the world's first 8x8 dual-format writer," writing DVD+R and
DVD-R at 8X (and DVD+/-RW at 4X).
| | TDK IndiDVD DED+880 | |
Sounds good to me; just don't tell EZQuest, which released its own 8x8 drive--an external, no less--the Fast Boa 8X dual-format, at Macworld this week. EZQuest is offering USB 2.0 and FireWire versions of the Fast Boa 8X; availability was not specified, but depending on the included software package, it will go for $249 or $299. TDK, also ignoring Pioneer's news, announced a pair of 8X burners, the internal IndiDVD AID+880 and the external IndiDVD DED+880, available this month for $249 and $329, respectively. Pioneer announced neither pricing nor availability for the DVR-A07, but expect it and the other 8x8 drives to appear soon. And between you and me, one of them is just a firmware update away.