A new magneto-optical specification could cut off DVD-RAM at the pass. Tentatively named AS MO (Advanced Storage Magneto-Optical), the spec is for a 6-7Gb 5.25-inch disk cartridge and has the backing of nine top names in entertainment and data storage.
Fujitsu, Philips, Sony, Hitachi, Sharp, Sanyo, Olympus, and Imation are among AS MO supporters for the specification, which is expected to be finalised in August or September before being transferred to a standards body. AS MO products could appear late in 1998.
AS MO will be based on MiniDisc and MO technology and will be targeted at personal and network storage and at storage-intensive niches such as video authoring where it's capacity could make it more attractive than DVD, according to some supporters. AS MO drives are also intended to be able to read CD-ROM and DVD-ROM disks.
"DVD doesn't have the capacity for full-length video feature authoring if you look at the targeted capacity points," said Rusty Rosenberger, business development manager for Imation. "Certainly DVD-RAM is going to have a lot of momentum and hype but users can better choose on price points and value ... There's going to be some head-to-head competition. The magical 4.7Gb target [aimed at by DVD] won't be enough for MPEG encoding on the fly."