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DVD-RAM Update

Continued growth seen in 2006 By John Virata

While HD DVD and Blue Ray continue to garner large amounts of media coverage and industry hype, the DVD-RAM format moves forward quietly under the radar. Though not a direct competitor to the so called blue ray technologies, DVD-RAM is gaining traction in the United States with more hardware support and continues to be a viable optical storage medium, Tony Jasionowski, executive director of the RAMPRG, told DMN in an interview today.

"We would like to see more RAM support in the hardware and that is actually happening." There is no doubt that HD DVD and Blue Ray technologies are currently getting most of the hype when it comes to optical storage. However because these technologies don't necessarily compete with DVD RAM, the market is still viable for DVD RAM products to continue coming onto store shelves, be it for DVD recorders or PC DVD recorders.

"What we're finding is that the red laser formats are still very much suited for SD TV, you don't need the blue formats to record analog TV,"Jasionowski said. In addition, he said, in terms of cost/performance, red laser technology is a lot more affordable than the blue laser formats. And many companies that will ship HD DVD and Blue RAY devices this year announced backward compatibility with DVD RAM format.

Jasionowski cited a recent MarketTools market survey of 492 DVD-RAM users that stated the ease of use of the DVD-RAM format over the other competing formats widely available on the market as an indicator that DVD-RAM will continue to see success in the near future. The survey cited several factors that consumers have experienced with the format when compared to DVD-/+ formats: DVD-RAM is the most popular format with consumers who have used a camcorder or standalone DVD recorder and is equally as popular as the other DVD recordable formats among those who have owned or used a PC DVD recorder; DVD-RAM users are less likely to experience technical issues (such as forgetting to format or finalize discs) than any other recordable/writable or re-recordable/re-writable DVD disc formats. With RAM there is no preformatting or finalizing of the media.

The survey also found that between 75% and 80% of users surveyed said they are satisfied with the DVD recordable formats they use, even though 28% said that they have experienced technical problems with their formats in that they were unreadable/unplayable. Nine percent of DVD-RAM users reported unplayable/unreadable discs, while 12% to 18% of those who don't use the DVD-RAM format reported unreadable/unplayable discs.

Currently, 12X DVD-RAM drives are the fastest offerings for the format, though 16X was approved by the DVD Forum in September 2005. Jasionowski expects 16X drives to be available by the end of this year. And at the Consumer Electronics Show, more than 50 DVD-RAM compatible products such as DVD-RAM compatible recorders, camcorders, players, PC drives and media made their debut from companies such as Hitachi, Ltd., Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc., Hitachi Maxell, Ltd., LG  Electronics Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.  (Panasonic), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., TEAC Corporation, Toshiba  Corporation and Victor Company of Japan.

"Recordable DVD is growing and consumers are discovering the benefits of DVD-RAM," Jasionowski said. "We are expecting this will continue in the near future, thanks to trends such as Super Multi drives."

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
Related Keywords:DVD RAM, recordable DVD, tony Jasionowski, RAMPRG


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