Sony, along with Hewlett-Packard, Philips, Mitsubishi Chemical, and Ricoh, is working on a noncompatible alternative to DVD-RAM called Phase-Change ReWritable, or DVD+RW. While the two recordable DVD technologies wouldn't be able to read each other's disks, they both will still read DVD-ROM discs.
Sony's recordable DVD drives can store up to 3.0GB of data, while DVD-RAM technology proposed to date has only offered 2.6GB per side. The drives are expected to be commercially available in the spring of 1998 but no pricing has been set, according to the report.
Sony has said it expects to be able to advance DVD+RW technology so that it can store 4.7GB per side, equaling the amount of data that can be stored on a DVD-ROM. Ostensibly, one of the reasons that Sony decided to forge ahead with its own recordable DVD technology is that it feels DVD+RW drive technology can be advanced more easily than DVD-RAM technology.
The DVD Forum, an industry consortium which is attempting to set DVD-RAM standards, has responded by saying it has started work on new DVD-RAM technology so that it can store 4.7GB per side, equaling the amount of data that can be stored on a DVD-ROM. The large capacity DVD-RAM drives could be on the market early 1999.