8.5GB DVD+R discs, drives to ship April '04

Expect double-layer, almost double-capacity DVD+R drives and media to hit the stores next April, members of the DVD+RW alliance say. The technology, co-developed by drive maker Philips, and media specialists Verbatim and Mitsubishi Kagaku, adds a second recording layer to a standard-thickness DVD+R disc, taking the medium's capacity from 4.7GB to 8.5GB.

That's enough for four hours of DVD-quality material, 16 hours of VHS-quality content or two hours' archive footage. The discs are playback-compatible with existing DVD players and DVD-ROM drives. Initial products will offer a write speed of 2.4x.

DVD+R DL, as the technology is known, was demo'd last month in Japan and shown to the press in London last week. Alliance members said the next step is to publish the format's specifications, a process which should be complete this year. Officially, the Alliance says DVD+R DL hardware and media will ship during "the course of 2004", but privately a number of member companies said they are "hoping" for an April 2004 introduction.

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News source: The Reg

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