Ray Freeman, OSTA Facilitator

Mike Manuel / George Millington,
Walt & Company Communications


Widespread Adoption Fosters Writable Optical Storage Compatibility

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., June 17, 1998 -- The Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) today revealed that 31 drive manufacturers, representing 98 percent of CD and DVD optical drive shipments worldwide, have requested applications for the use of the MultiRead specification. MultiRead is an optical drive specification ratified by OSTA members 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.

Already approved to use the MultiRead logo are fourteen of the industry's largest companies, including: Actima, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, LG Electronics, Lite-on, Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics, Mitsumi, Philips Components, Pioneer, Ricoh, Samsung, Sony, TEAC, and Toshiba. Approval of several more applicants is expected soon.

"We're very pleased with the nearly-unanimous level of interest among optical drive manufacturers," commented Steve Hammond, vice president of marketing for Micro Design International and chairman of OSTA's Market Development Committee. "Despite the present uncertainty over rewritable DVD standards, today's MultiRead specification

ensures that user investments in data recorded on CD media will be protected as drive technology shifts from CD to DVD. Consumers can now find comfort in the fact that wherever they see the MultiRead logo, full compatibility with CD discs is assured," continued Hammond.

The MultiRead specification defines the parameters necessary for optical devices to be capable of reading CD-Audio, CD-ROM, CD-R and CD-RW discs. Most CD-RW drives are MultiRead compliant, and most of the new high speed CD-ROM drives incorporate MultiRead compatibility as well. In addition, most future DVD-ROM and rewritable DVD devices are expected to comply with the specification.

Compliance with the MultiRead specification is voluntary. Companies using the MultiRead logo are required to test drives using testing and benchmark criteria published on the OSTA web site. Manufacturers must then submit a test report to Hewlett-Packard, which administers the MultiRead logo, along with a nominal ($995) license fee. Media makers can also obtain authorization to use the logo on CD-RW discs, which can be read only on MultiRead drives.

"The MultiRead specification and its logo licensing program create a clear mechanism for users to identify optical drives that can read the billions of CD-Audio, CD-ROM,

CD-R and CD-RW discs that continue to appear in the marketplace," stated Ray Freeman, OSTA facilitator. "This is especially significant in light of the continued evolution and widespread acceptance of CD and DVD products."

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 80 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 http://www.osta.org.

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