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Hitachi to demo DVD-RAM at Macworld

Hitachi will demonstrate its DVD-RAM products for use in multimedia recording, storage, and disk drive backup.

Mac users attending the Macworld Expo will be able to get their first glimpse of re-recordable DVD technologies from Hitachi for the Macintosh platform.

Hitachi will demonstrate its DVD-RAM products for use in content Special coverage: All the Mac's a stage creation, multimedia recording, storage, and disk drive backup. The company says that with the drive and bundled software, users can produce DVD-RAM recordings for playback on either Mac or Windows 95 platforms.

A DVD-RAM drive allows both recording and playback. DVD-ROM drives, already on the market, can only do playback.

Hitachi's drive will be able to store up to 2.6GB on a single-sided disc and up to 5.2 GB on a double-sided disc. The DVD Forum, an industry consortium, has started working on a standard for next-generation re-recordable DVD-RAM drives that can store 4.7GB of information on a single-sided disk. Higher capacity DVD-RAM drives are not expected to be available until late 1998 or early 1999, however.

In the meanwhile, Hitachi will offer its drives by February through third-party vendors for an estimated street price of $800.

The availability of such products for the Mac platform is important as Apple Computer focuses on serving publishing markets. Typical users are creating multimedia content for games and Web sites, and as such, often need to store and quickly access large amounts of data.

"DVD-RAM will initially be strong in the after-market where multimedia has traditionally played a role, such as content creation and video," said Werner Glinka, marketing manager for Hitachi.

Don't expect the drives to ship standard on Mac systems anytime soon, though.

"DVD-RAM is not a consumer product at the moment. It's really a couple of years at the very short end [before it is a mass-market item]," said Tom O'Reilly, editor and senior analyst for DVD Report, an industry trade publication.