Wouldn't you like to be able to record your own DVDs at home - reaping the benefits of more capacity, improved quality of picture, sound and video?
Of course! And do you know what's standing in your way? The manufacturers of DVD players and new writeable DVD technology are unable to decide on a standard.
The 3 choices: DVD-RAM, DVD-RW or DVD+RW.
DVD-RAM has the advantage of first-to-market, but it defintely has its flaws.
Hitachi, Toshiba and Panasonic have announced their intentions to start pushing their DVD-RAM recorders onto consumers this year. Unfortunately for us, the discs produced by a DVD-RAM recorder can't be played in the DVD players that we already have. They require "RAM-capable" DVD players.
DVD+RW, the format pushed by Hewlett-Packard, Ricoh, Philips and Yamaha, doesn't have the same problem. The discs can be played in existing DVD players. However, the recorder itself is expected to be expensive (Phillips estimated $1000), and you can't get one for your computer.
DVD-RW is Pioneer's baby. You can pick one of these recorders up already, if you live in Tokyo. The target market for these badboys is enthusiasts. Projected pricetag? $3000. Ick.
The DVD-RW discs will be playable in Pioneer DVD players and "some players from other manufacturers." If rewritable isn't your biggest concern, they'll be able to use single-use media that will be playable on any player. (Hey, at least someone has the right idea.)
Fortunately, the DVD Forum, an association containing 230 companies, is regulating the whole mess.
Some other stories on the subject:
CNET from August 99