Ray Freeman, OSTA Facilitator

Mike Manuel / George Millington,
Walt & Company Communications


Phase One Compatibility Testing Proves CD Standards Effective

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., March 31, 1997 -- Concluding its first phase of industry-wide compatibility testing for compact disc-recordable (CD-R) products, the Optical Storage Technology Association (OSTA) announced it has found a very high degree of compatibility among all the tested CD-R writers and media. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of, and widespread industry compliance with, the CD standards developed by OSTA member companies Philips and Sony.

Over 70 million CD-R discs were sold worldwide in 1996, more than tripling the number sold the prior year. Predictions for 1997 CD-R disc sales estimate a growth to 200 million. Similar percentage gains are expected for the number of CD-R drives.

"CD-R is growing even faster than CD-ROM did," said Dr. Brian Bartholomeusz, Chairman of the OSTA CD-Writable Physical Compatibility Subcommittee. "And given that growth we want to be absolutely sure that the benefits of standardization transfer to end users through across-the-board compatibility." Bartholomeusz added, "We also want to create a visible forum for discussion and study of future compatibility issues. This testing is part of that process."


Early CD-R drives and media, introduced prior to the 1994 finalization of the "Orange Book" standards for CD-R technology, displayed some incompatibilities. As the first phase of the current OSTA testing reveals, interchange compatibility is no longer a cause for concern. This very important and encouraging result has been independently corroborated and confirmed by similar studies recently conducted by the Orange Study Group of Japan and Doculabs in the USA. Phase 1 of the OSTA CD-R test utilized 167 commercially available 74-minute discs from ten media suppliers and CD-R writers from eight different manufacturers. Older 1X and 2X drives were tested alongside newer 4X and 6X devices. At least three discs of each type were fully written in each CD-R drive using a standard image file. A Byte-level read and compare of all the data on the fully written discs was undertaken using 12 popular CD-ROM readers. The results did show that some older, now discontinued 1X and 2X CD-ROM readers experienced difficulty reading discs written on faster drives. However, all the data was ultimately readable and recoverable. In addition, exhaustive testing showed that 99.7% of measured performance parameters were within the prescribed specification limits, illustrating a high degree of conformance to the Orange Book standards. The OSTA compatibility study is an ongoing project that will continue to yield information and aid in development of future standards in the optical storage arena. The study will also facilitate global interchange compatibility. Detailed test results are made available to participating companies on a request basis.

About OSTA

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'smembership, comprising optical product manufacturers from three continents and representing more than 70 percent of worldwide writable optical product shipments, works to shape the future of the industry through regular meetings of CD-Writable, file interchange, magneto-optical, market development, 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.

# # #

Editors Note: Product and company names used here are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.