Matsushita plans 4.7GB DVD-RAM launch

Matsushita plans 4.7GB DVD-RAM launch

Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Company has announced plans to launch products based on a higher-capacity, second-generation version of the DVD-RAM format, which is still battling for market acceptance against increasingly popular writable CDs.

The company, which is better known by its Panasonic brand name, will launch in June a new computer drive and the first consumer video optical disc recorder, both based on the second-generation system.

First generation DVD-RAM (digital versatile disc RAM) discs are capable of holding 2.6GB of data per side to give a maximum capacity of 5.2GB on a double-sided disc. The second-generation format extends this to 4.7GB of storage per side to produce a maximum capacity of 9.4GB per disc, although initially only single-sided discs will be produced.

For computer use, the company will put on sale during July both internal and external drives to support the format. The external model will go on sale from July 10 at 74,800 yen while an internal version will retail for 63,500 yen from July 25. At that price they come in slightly cheaper than the recommended retail price of the company's existing first generation DVD-RAM drives.

Discs for both products are expected to hit the shelves by June 30 and Matsushita is planning to produce 50,000 per month. Local pricing is yet to be announced.

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