DVD-RAM technology proposed to date has only offered 2.6GB per side.
Not yet on the market, DVD-RAM will offer recording and playback of data. DVD-ROM technology, which is now commerically available for TVs and personal computers, only offers playback.
Hitachi's 4.7GB technology would best the DVD technology recently proposed by Sony, Philips, and Hewlett-Packard, possibly pointing to a game of one-upmanship. Sony's non-compatible alternative to DVD-RAM can store 3GB of information per side.
There is no consensus in the market yet whether DVD-RAM or another technology will become the industry standard. The future of DVD has been up in the air since Sony, Philips, and Hewlett-Packard threw their support behind the competing format.
Hitachi's new DVD-RAM technology will be submitted to the DVD Forum, whose members include Hitachi, Toshiba, Sony, Mitsubshi, Philips Electronics, and Time Warner. Hitachi's next-generation 4.7GB DVD-RAM will be compatible with the current DVD-RAM standard.
Hitachi expects the forum to decide upon the new format by next fall, with products featuring the next-generation technology to be rolled out in 1999, said Hitachi spokesman Ken Mizoguchi.