Yamaha CD-RW - Part 9

The two Yamaha drives are solid drives that performed beyond my expectations. I have not encountered any buffer overruns when using these two drives yet. Audio extraction was excellent when paired up with my Pioneer DR-U06S (32X SCSI).

Should you get a CD-RW now? Before you decide, take a look at what will be coming up:

  • DVD-RAM. This was the first rewritable format approved by the DVD Forum, a consortium of companies that established the original DVD specification. Last summer, the group approved the 1.0 specification for DVD-RAM, a phase-change design that can hold 2.6GB of data per side on single- or double-sided disks. The single-sided disks will come in removable cartridges, but to protect the sensitive recording layer, double-sided disks will be permanently mounted in cartridges. At least one DVD-RAM drive manufacturer--Matsushita, which makes Panasonic products--promises that the drives will also be able to read PD/CD phase-change disks.
  • DVD+RW. The largest faction to split off from the original specification is led by Hewlett-Packard, Philips, and Sony which jointly developed the DVD+rewritable format, or DVD+RW. Philips and Sony are also members of the DVD Forum and have expressed support for the DVD-RAM specification; they're backing the DVD+RW specification because they believe that it will be better suited for some applications. For instance, Philips has said that future generations of its DVD+RW drive could conceivably write CD-R disks, which means users could create content for the huge installed base of CD-ROM drives.

DVD+RW's single-layer phase-change disks have more capacity than DVD-RAM disks--3.0GB per side--and use a higher-density recording process. The DVD+RW format does not rely on cartridges to hold the disks.

  • DVD-R/W. Pioneer has put forth its own specification, which it calls DVD-R/W. This is an evolutionary development based on existing CD-RW technology. It will use random-access media that hold up to 3.95GB. One of this technology's key characteristics is that its phase-change media have a higher reflectivity than DVD-RAM or DVD+RW media, and as a result, can be read in existing DVD-ROM drives and DVD players without modification. Because of this, DVD-R/W drives are not intended to be end-user products but instead are to be used by content developers to create disks that will be read on standard drives.
  • MMVF. The final contender in this list is the Multimedia Video File format from NEC, also known as MMVF. With a 5.2GB capacity on one side, the disks hold more data than the first versions of the competing designs. One important design goal was to be able to fit a full two-hour movie on one side of the disk. The decision about whether or not to enclose the disks in a cartridge has not yet been made, and drives aren't expected before late 1998.

It will be up to you to decide whether you really need a CD-RW. Cost per megabyte is so cheap compared to any other removable storage devices. It may take several years before technologies like DVD-RW are standardized. Why not invest in something that is proven and cheap?


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Special Thanks to Mr Michael Tan of Convergent Systems
for the provision of the Yamaha CD-RW