Five years ago: DVD-ROM is here

The next generation of storage media arrived today as Hitachi formally announced its DVD-ROM drive, which will be followed by a 'write many times' DVD-RAM drive by the end of the year

First published 23 January, 1997

The GD-1000 DVD-ROM drive has a 4.7Gb capacity using single-sided disks, and up to 17Gb using dual-layer, double-sided disks. The drives are being manufactured now, but "demand is outstripping supply, so they will be delivered in February", according to Nick Sundby, Hitachi's DVD product marketing manager. He could not detail OEM partners but said "companies in Japan are already building them into systems".

Hitachi said the huge capacity and price of the unit, currently around $350 (about £220) a unit for OEMs, were not the only factors that will influence sales: "With audio CDs, consumers perceived there would be a certain performance increase [on vinyl], regardless of the price," said Peter Scatchard, Hitachi's marketing manager for the information equipment division. "[For consumers] DVD will be a fashion experience like audio CDs, and that's where Hollywood comes in ...We know Microsoft is already heavily developing DVD content." Market analyst IDC predicts 300 DVD software applications being available by 1998.

Hitachi's Sundby added DVD-RAM drives will sample at the end of this year, depending on when the DVD-RAM working group fixes the specification. "The first disks will have a capacity of 2.6Gb, and the current DVD-ROM drives should be able to read disks written by DVD-RAM drives."

Other companies including Toshiba, Pioneer and Panasonic are expected to make DVD announcements soon.

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