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OPINION FEBRUARY 1 , 2001
Guest Opinion: One Small Step Back Isn't All Bad in Delivering the Video World

by Ronald Hanafin
Optical Media Product Manager, Verbatim Corp.
[email protected]
Special to Creative Mac

One of the biggest problems with being an innovator is that, occasionally, your vision is slightly ahead of its time.

Many industry analysts, reporters and competitors said Apple finally saw the light and "rethought" its position on CD-RW and rewritable DVD.

There wasn't anything fundamentally wrong with Apple's rewritable DVD solutions when they were made two years ago. The company's vision of personal or desktop video production (DVP) was well ahead of the rest of the industry. Rewritable DVD solutions provide 4.7 GB of storage, or two hours of theater-quality video. Most analysts consider this the "sweet spot" capacity because it allows people to store a feature-length movie on a single disc. Until very recently, there was a compatibility problem. The videos could only be played back on certain DVD-ROM drives and certain DVD players.

Manufacturers catching up
Slowly though, manufacturers of computer peripherals and consumer equipment are delivering on the DVD Forum's master plan with players and drives that will read the rewritable DVD discs. These developments will drive desktop video production from a niche market to a widely used means of personal, family and business communications where playback, not storage, is extremely important.

Many Mac users solved Apple's lack of having CD capability by buying external CD-RW drives with FireWire and USB connectivity from organizations like LaCie and APS.

Connected to their Power Mac G4, PowerBook, iMac DV or an iBook, they used Final Cut Pro, iMovie or QuickTime to produce and share high-quality videos. Using MPEG-2 (HDTV or theater quality), they could easily write up to 30 minutes of video on a CD-R or CD-RW disc that could be widely played.

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