DVD Forum approves 16x DVD-R, decides on HD DVD logo

Chicago (IL) - The DVD Forum makes little noise in the public these days. Behind the scenes, the organization however is busy in improving its existing and developing new standards. Among others, the DVD-R this week received speed increases to 12x and 16x, the DVD-R video recorder spec was approved. Also, HD DVD got its official logo and a rewritable disc spec.

The steering committee's 27th meeting was unusually active with 22 approvals and no delays or further considerations of proposals. The decisions focused on the areas of improvements for the DVD-R as well as the upcoming High-Density DVD format (HD DVD).

The DVD-R is formally approved by the organization for 12 x (revision 5.0) and 16x (revision 6.0) recording speeds with mass production of commercial product likely to begin still in September and worldwide availability in October. The DVD-RW format was accepted for 6x speed. The DVD Forum also approved the previously discussed concept of the Dual Layer DVD-R, now in version 2.9. A test specification 1.0 of the DVD-R for video recorders was passed.

After the organization decided in June of this year on a specification of the HD DVD ROM, the forum now also moved the format for the recordable version forward. At this time, version 0.9 of the HD DVD RW in 1x speed was approved. The final specification is expected for the next meeting of the organization.

The HD-DVD format competes with Sony's Blue-ray technology and is mainly backed by Toshiba, NEC, and most recently Sanyo. Both approaches are based on blue lasers with shorter wave length than their red counterparts to read data stored in higher density on discs. HD DVDs are planned to offered capacities of 15 and 30 GByte on single and dual-sided discs at near-DVD production prices. General availability is expected to be early 2005. Blue-ray will be able to scale to 100 GByte in 2007 using four-layer technology and later up to 200 GByte with eight layers, according to a statement from Sony officials made today.

According to the meeting notes of the DVD Forum's steering committee, HD DVD will receive "Dolby Digital Plus" and "MLP Lossless technology" as mandatory audio formats for the HD DVD, as previously did the Blue-ray disc.

The members of the organization also agreed to a general HD DVD logo as well as artwork for the HD DVD ROM.