January 29th 2003
By Mike Flaminio
CDR Info notes an interesting tidbit from the CES show in Las Vegas a little while back. The story says that major consumer electronics manufacturers, such as Samsung, Toshiba, Hitachi and Panasonic, which all support the DVD-R/RW format, are backing 'multiformat' recorders.
These recorders work with DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM discs. The 97-member Recordable DVD Council is using the 'Real DVD' tag to push consumer awareness in the US of multiformat recorders, in a move sure to provoke PC manufacturers, such as HP and Dell, which have plumped for the competing DVD+RW format. On the software side, Microsoft has also opted to support DVD+RW (which doesn't mean Redmond won't change sides, once it sees who's winning the battle).
Sony is having a bet each way by supporting both DVD-R and DVD+RW, in some cases with combo DVD recorders. On the DVD-R side, some DV cameras already record direct to DVD-R or DVD-RAM, giving you raw DVD video footage on disc on the fly.
Apple and its SuperDrive partners, Matsushita and Pioneer, are heavily committed to the DVD-R format. Recently, one survey found that DVD+RW shipments had overtaken DVD-R for the first time.
Analysis: DVD+RWs lead was only a couple of % points (in one survey), while DVD-R blank prices are falling more quickly than DVD+RW. Apple has also popularized home DVD making, with probably more of its models - especially consumer models - having a DVD-R option than most, if not all, other manufacturers. Consumer-oriented Gateway, for instance, doesn't offer DVD recording on its Profile as yet. Compaq was supporting DVD-R, but is now subsumed into HP, which has opted for +RW. Sony is probably smart to see which way this one falls, as moving over to DVD-R, should the format prove dominant, will be no difficulty.