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DVD-RAM Update: Steady growth predicted for U.S.

Japan adoption rate faster than that of United States By John Virata

The DVD-RAM format, the oft ignored of the DVD recordable formats in the United States' PC world, has achieved steady growth worldwide, from a projected shipment of 23 million DVD recordable devices in 2005, to 90 million units by 2009, according to Semico Research. The firm sites lower prices, more features, and units that are easier to operate, as basis for the projections.

While DVD-RAM compatible devices, in both DVD set top recorders and DVD PC drives enjoy wide success and support in Japan, the United States is slowly catching up, both in terms of DVD recorder penetration and DVD- PC drive configurations, said Tony Jasionowski, Executive Director for the DVD-RAM Promotions Group, an industry trade group that promotes the DVD-RAM format in consumer devices such as DVD recorders and DVD camcorders, as well as PC-based DVD writers.

DVD camcorders, now in their 5th generation, have achieved the highest growth in Japan, where consumers tend to enjoy the benefit of recording directly to a dual sided DVD-RAM disc (record on both sides of the disc) and transfer that disc directly to a consumer electronics-based DVD recorder for playback on a TV, or directly to a PC for further editing. According to TSR-Japan, a market research firm, 400,000 DVD camcorders shipped by the year 2003, 1.1 million DVD camcorders shipped in 2004, with as many as three million shipping by the end 2005. The biggest markets for these DVD camcorders, most of which record on DVD-R and DVD-RAM format media, are Japan and the United States.

While Japanese consumers tend to favor the DVD-RAM format for their computing needs as well, Jasionowski says that PC trends in the United States, which favor the competing DVD-/DVD+ formats, are beginning to see DVD-RAM as another alternative to the mix. This is due in part to drive manufacturers building and shipping Super Multi drives, which not only support all the flavors of DVD-/DVD+, but DVD-RAM as well. Jasionowski pointed out that Hewlett-Packard, one of the biggest PC manufacturers in the world, announced support of the DVD-RAM format at the 2005 CES Trade show in Las Vegas, making it the first large PC manufacturer to support the format in custom desktop and laptop configurations. In addition, he said, virtually all third party DVD and video editing software purveyors support the DVD-RAM specification.  Jasionowski cites several benefits to the format, including recognized strength in the consumer electronics arena, a more archive-friendly format than tape, and better video image quality. The format enjoys an approximate 40 percent market penetration in the U.S. consumer based DVD recorder markets, and it is slowly gaining traction in the PC world. For more information, visit

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
Related Keywords:DVD-RAM, DVD camcorder, DVD recorder, Ram PRG,

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