Storage Media: DVD-RW

Storage Media: DVD-RW

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Storage Media: DVD-RW

The evolution of faster computers and larger computer programs has made it necessary to develop newer and faster ways to store large masses of data. Constant advances from 5 ¼ inch floppies, to 3 ½ inch floppies, to high capacity floppies, to zip drives, to CD-RW drives make it seem like by the time you upgrade, the technology is already obsolete. So what is the near future of storage media. The newest storage media that is rapidly advancing on the CD-RW is the DVD-RW. DVD-RW drives are decreasing in price, almost as fast as they’re increasing in speed. Over the last 18 months, their price has cut in half, and it’s easy to see that in the near future, DVD-RW drives will be the standard for storage media.

According to J. B. Miles of Government Computer News, Rewritable DVD drives are on their way to becoming indispensable tools for PC users. It won't be long until they replace rewritable CD drives. DVD rewritables are hard to beat when it comes to capacity and versatility. They can read, write and rewrite up to 4.7G of information per disk side and will read both DVD-ROM disks and most CDs, so those music CDs you've collected won't be wasted. (Miles 2002)

Currently there are two major formats competing to become the standard in DVD-R and RW. The formats are DVD+R and DVD-R. In the past it’s been hard to decide which to invest in when purchasing a new DVD-RW drive, however, recently released DVD-RW drives such as Sony’s DRU-500A are able to write in both formats. Not only does this new Sony drive write DVD+RW and +R at 2.4X, it also writes the competing DVD-R and DVD-RW formats at 4X and 2X, twice as fast as current dedicated DVD-R and DVD-RW drives. On top of that it is also able to burn CD-Rs at 24X and CD-RWs at 10X. This could be very beneficial considering the low cost of CD-Rs compared to DVD-Rs.

The technology doesn’t stop with the DVD Drives. The actual DVDs will be experiencing upgrades as well. Faster and faster write speeds will cut down on the time it takes to write you 4.7 Gigabytes. Maxell has recently announced they are releasing their newest DVD line in February 2002.

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They are introducing new DVD-R discs that will allow write speeds of 4X, and DVD-RW discs that will allow write speeds of 2X. They are also introducing three inch DVDs will hold 1.4 Gigabytes worth of data in a size that will easily fit in a shirt pocket. These discs have the potential to be used in the next generation of digital cameras, MP3 players, and Camcorders. Maxell is also introducing new double sided discs that will allow writing on both sides.

The benefits of DVD-RW Drives won’t stop at data storage, however. According to Tom Krazit, IDG News Service, consumers are primarily interested in DVD technology to replace their VCRs. They prefer stand-alone DVD recorders to new PCs with DVD recording technology, or to external or internal PC-attached storage drives. For the most part, people don't realize what they can do on their PC [to record DVDs]. But everybody has used a VCR, and many people have used a DVD player. Hardware and software vendors, however, must teach consumers the benefits of using PCs for recording DVDs over stand-alone recorders, Schlichting says. They provide much more flexibility in terms of recording options, and are much cheaper if the user already owns a PC that can handle the demands of DVD drives, he says. Stand-alone DVD recorders cost about $1000 now, while PC-attached drives sell for between $300 and $500 and considering the price difference, DVD-RW drives are sure to pull there weight in more ways than just holding a boatload of MP3s. (Krazit 2002)

As for laptops, Toshiba joined Sony in early November by shipping high-end notebooks with drives capable of burning DVDs. The move comes as PC makers look to revive sluggish sales and to repeat the CD-rewritable boom that fueled the last wave of computer upgrades. "This is certainly going to better position Toshiba's and Sony's notebooks at retail," IDC analyst Alan Promisel said. "It could give a small boost to notebook sales during the holiday season." Adding DVD recording to notebooks makes sense for a number of reasons, analysts say. On one hand, notebook sales are doing much better than desktops. DVD recording could help spur sales of high-end models favored by early adopters. DVD recording was added to portables faster than CD burning and it kind of shows how hopeful all the PC makers are. DVD burning is an application people are willing to upgrade to. Computer manufacturers hope to capitalize on computer power that exceeds the needs of the software, but is just right for working with video.(Wilcox 2002) “If you look at motion picture kind of products, which is kind of a common thing for consumers, those kind of things are almost 10 years old," said Yoshi Oguchi, Sony's senior manager of Vaio notebook marketing. "It's the time when the PC is catching up with those kinds of technologies. It's a perfect combination." The biggest gain from DVD recording on notebooks may have little to do with sales. Particularly in the fast-paced notebook market, the perception of having the newest, most innovative technologies is crucial to successfully building brand awareness.(Wilcox 2002)

With the amount of flexibility and decreasing price of rewritable DVD Drives, it’s easy to see why they are the future of recordable media. The benefits of having 4.7GB of space on a single disc bring a whole new realm of possibilities to data storage, and the flexibility of recording videos is long overdue. In only a few years, people will be talking about the new data storage device that will replace DVD drives, but today, the future is rewritable DVD Drives.
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