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Hitachi weighs in on DVD-RAM

Hitachi's offering in the splintering DVD-RAM market has a storage capacity of 4.7GB, almost doubling the amount proposed to date.

Hitachi announced today that it has developed DVD-RAM technology that provides a capacity of 4.7GB per side, almost doubling the amount of data which can be stored and offering a challenge to renegade manufacturers such as Sony.

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.