Panasonic's PD/CD-ROM Paves the Path to DVD

Article excerpt

Panasonic Computer Peripheral Company (PCPC) has announced that rewritable PD optical media employed by the Panasonic PD/CD-ROM drive will be fully compatible with forthcoming Panasonic DVD-ROM players.

PD/CD-ROM (manufacturer's suggested retail price: $499.95) is a single drive that allows users to read CD-ROMs at quad speed, and, in the same drive, read and write 650 MB rewritable PD optical cartridges. DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) is the new standard for optical storage agreed upon in September 1995 by leading computer, consumer electronics, music, motion picture, and entertainment companies. A DVD disc will hold between seven and 20 times as much data as a standard CD-ROM.

"PD/CD-ROM is one of the most advanced and cost-effective storage solutions available today," said Timothy J. Curran, vice president of PCPC. "It is positioned for tomorrow because its inherent phase change technology allows PD media to be compatible with the much touted, future DVD technology.

"In a sense," continued Curran, "today's PD/CD-ROM users are the first to tap into DVD, which is due to be introduced in DVD-ROM players early next year."

Several components of the phase change optical technology used in DVD-ROM players are the same as those employed by PD. "As a result," said Rich Harada, Panasonic marketing manager for optical disk drives, "it is relatively easy to design next-generation DVD-ROM players to be backward-compatible with PD media." This is an important issue to consumers today who are trying to decide which storage format to embrace. "We expect that PD's compatibility with the future technology will make it a winner in the battle for market share among data storage devices," added Harada. "PD users can be assured that the data libraries they create on PD media will be compatible with the technology of tomorrow."

Although tomorrow's DVD technology helps enhance the value of the PD/CD-ROM drive today, PD's current success also helps to validate DVD by offering proff that a single drive can effectively read and/or write multiple types of media.

Understanding DVD

DVD is the standard for next-generation compact disc technology. A DVD disc looks like a standard CD-ROM but has up to 20 times the storage capacity. The initial discs will be read-only and capable of holding between 4.7 and 17 gigabytes of data on a single disc--enough data to hold a feature-length movie dubbed with eight different language tracks and 32 different subtitled language tracks. Later versions of DVD will be rewritable and will provide up to 5.2 GB of data on a single disc.

In September 1995, the standard was agreed upon by several leading computer and consumer electronics manufacturers, including Panasonic (Matsushita), Toshiba, Phillips, and Sony, all of whom contributed to its development. The standard also was endorsed by many of the world's leading music, motion picture, and entertainment companies.

Now that a universal standard has been established, a convergence between computers and consumer electronics is possible. The same DVD technology will be employed to play full-length, laser-disc-quality movies at home; audio discs that produce music with enhanced sound clarity; and multimedia computer applications such as games and presentations.

PD/CD-ROM Migration Path

Panasonic also announced a direction for its product line and a migration path for the PD/CD-ROM drive to demonstrate to customers that an investment in PD today will not become obsolete tomorrow. Its two forthcoming drives will embrace both the PD and CD-ROM formats, as well as tap the capabilities of the new DVD standard. …