With eight-speed DVD+R barely out of the gate, the +RW alliance is already pushing the next generation of the format. In this case the next generation includes two mighty leaps forward. The first and the most important is the introduction of dual layer blank media.
Dual Layer DVD+R media is a reality.
Both Verbatim and Ricoh claim that they will have media ready towards the end of June 2004, while almost every optical drive manufacturer was quoting a similar timescale for the hardware on which to write it. With Philips expecting to have drives ready to ship in early June with a projected price of 169 Euros.
Philips is likely to be first out of the gate with Dual Layer, but there wonâ€™t be any DVD-R/RW support in the drive.
Sony will be offering DVD-R/RW support in its dual layer drive.
The dual layer media will be rated at 2.4-speed which is well below the eight-speed enjoyed with single layer media. At 2.4-speed it will take approximately one hour to fill an entire 8.5GB DVD+R dual layer disc. The first generation dual layer capable drives will still write single layer DVD+R at eight-speed and DVD+RW media at a maximum four-speed.
However also on display were drives capable of writing single layer DVD+R media at 16-speed. At this speed it should take less than five minutes to fill an entire 4.7GB DVD+R disc. The indication I got from both hardware and media suppliers was that 16-speed will be the speed limit of recordable DVD, and considering the problems with media shattering in very fast CD-ROM drives, this is probably a wise move.
Both Ricoh and BenQ were showing drives that sported both dual layer and 16-speed single layer DVD+R functionality.
Of course the ability to burn dual layer DVD discs does also increase the opportunity for piracy. Since most DVD movies are shipped on DVD-9 discs, pirates have had to split a movie across two blank DVD+R discs when copying it. Now however the ability to copy DVD movies 1:1 is a reality and the potential for piracy may well increase.