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Digital Video Disk (DVD)

Library Systems Newsletter [February 1998]

Digital Video Disk (DVD) is being hyped as being the next important information technology, but even the name is unclear as the technology is more of a general digital storage medium than a video system. Some have even renamed it "digital versatile disk."

The name was an outgrowth of DVD's first intended use-the distribution of motion picture films for the home entertainment market, replacing laser disk, and even videotape. Later, computer vendors decided that a version called DVD-ROM could replace CD-ROM. Most recently audio CD manufacturers have been considering it. The reason for its appeal to all three sectors is that the medium can store from 4.7 GB to 17 GB on a single five-inch disk. The lower capacity is achieved with a single layer and a single side of the disk; the higher capacity uses a double layer and both sides of the disk.

A single layer of a DVD disk can hold 133 minutes of video-enough for most full-length feature films. For the computer storage market, DVD offers much greater storage capacity than CD-R011 at comparable cost. For the audio market, DVD offers not only greater capacity than a compact disc, but the option of six tracks of sound.

At present, DVD is not a user-recordable medium. However, recordable form is expected late this year, as is a rewritable form.

Manufacturers have been slow to reach consensus on an industry standard. The DVD Forum, an industry group that comprises ten companies, reached agreement a year ago, but Sony, Philips, and Hewlett-Packard have recently announced that they will not conform to the requirement that new players and drives be backward compatible with existing technology. Until the industry pulls together, the rate of sales-which was 100,000 units in 1997-is not expected to increase.

It may be 1999 before DVD products will be a "safe" purchase. It may also be that long until prices come down from the current $300-500 price range.

View Citation
Publication Year:1998
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Library Systems Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 18 Number 02
Issue:February 1998
Publisher:American Library Association
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Notes:Howard S. White, Editor-in-Chief; Richard W. Boss, Contributing Editor
Subject: Optical storage technology
Record Number:5707
Last Update:2022-07-27 16:41:21
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00