Ray Freeman, OSTA Facilitator

Mike Manuel / George Millington,
Walt & Company Communications


New Subcommittee Formed — Primary Charter is to Develop a Specification Enabling Read Compatibility among Multiple Writable DVD Formats

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., January 11, 1999 -- In response to the ongoing debate over disparate writable DVD standards, the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) today announced the formation of a new writable DVD subcommittee. The initial goal of this subcommittee is to develop and deploy a new specification that will enable conforming CD and DVD optical drives to read specified writable DVD media, including media from competing industry formats.

Consistent with OSTA’s mission to assure broad interchangeability of recorded media for the user, the new writable DVD compatibility specification will allow optical drive manufacturers to produce drives capable of reading all types of CD media (CD-Audio, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW), DVD-ROM and DVD-R media, and media from the first two announced rewritable DVD formats (DVD-RAM and DVD+RW). This initiative builds upon OSTA’s pioneering efforts in developing the popular MultiRead specification, which was created to ensure compatibility among all classes of CD discs and CD/DVD devices.

The first meeting of the OSTA Writable DVD Subcommittee, open to representatives from OSTA member companies and associate member companies, will be held January 13 and 14, 1999, in South San Francisco, California. Non-member companies interested in participating in the new subcommittee may contact OSTA at 805-963-3853.

To date, 35 individuals from 29 participating optical technology companies have signed up to participate in the new subcommittee, which includes essentially all of the major proponents of DVD-RAM and DVD+RW technologies, major media manufacturers and system integrators. Felix Nemirovsky, vice president of Plextor Corp., has been named chairman of the new subcommittee. Mr. Nemirovsky is uniquely qualified for this position, combining extensive industry experience and technical leadership, with unquestioned neutrality in the DVD standards issue.

"There is little doubt that writable DVD has the potential to become a premier storage technology due to its flexibility, high-capacity, media longevity, and expected compatibility with a large installed base of CD and DVD discs," said Felix Nemirovsky, chairman of OSTA’s Writable DVD Subcommittee. "However, the battle for supremacy in the writable DVD standards game has inhibited market growth for drives that read DVD discs, because some consumers are afraid of backing the wrong horse. The availability of a specification ensuring that consumers are protected from compatibility issues could be critical for DVD to reach its ultimate potential, and we are flattered to be asked to lead this effort."

In addition to the creation of a writable DVD compatibility specification for readers, other objectives set for the DVD subcommittee include:

Creation of compliance tests – The subcommittee members will develop a test plan enabling device manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with OSTA’s writable DVD compatibility specification.

Development of test disks/tools – As required by the compatibility specification and test plan, the new subcommittee will develop a suite of test disks and tools to assist device manufacturers with compliance testing.

Creation of an open forum – The subcommittee will also serve as a forum for all proposed writable DVD variations. In particular, it will encourage presentations and proposals from 4.7 GB drive proponents, and will evaluate expanding the DVD compatibility specification to enable DVD-Video and DVD-Audio players to read writable DVD media as well.

"OSTA’s objective in forming this subcommittee is to protect the consumer’s investment in hardware and recorded discs without limiting the technological innovation the optical storage industry is known for," said Ray Freeman, OSTA facilitator. "This endeavor underscores OSTA’s commitment to give priority to consumers’ needs. Having assembled all of the key players under the respected leadership of Felix Nemirovsky, and given OSTA’s proven successes with MultiRead and other initiatives, we anticipate achieving industry consensus."

About MultiRead
MultiRead is an optical drive specification ratified by OSTA in July 1997 that enables all classes of CD discs (CD-Audio, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW) to be read on current and future CD and DVD devices. To encourage manufacturer compliance, OSTA set up a MultiRead logo program. Vendors that wish to display the logo on their devices and sales material must successfully complete the MultiRead test plan and submit a nominal licensing fee.
To date, 15 of the industry’s largest companies are approved or nearing approval to use the MultiRead logo, including Actima, Behavioral Technology Computer, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, LG Electronics, Lite-On, Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics, Mitsumi, Philips Electronics, Pioneer, Ricoh, Samsung, Sony, TEAC and Toshiba. Approval of additional applicants is expected soon.

OSTA Background
The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) was incorporated as an international trade association in 1992 to promote the use of writable optical technologies and products for storage of computer data. The organization’s membership includes optical product manufacturers and resellers from three continents, representing more than 85 percent of worldwide writable optical product shipments. They work to shape the future of the industry through regular meetings of CD/DVD, file interchange, market development, magneto-optical and planning committees. Interested companies worldwide are invited to join the organization and participate in its programs by contacting an OSTA representative at 805/963-3853 or by addressing its Web site at www.osta.org.

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