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Letters to the Editor.

Let's address some of the points in your DVD article ("DVD's Death Sentence?," page 46, April 2000) in order of their importance. Holographic technology is actually very interesting. It was very interesting when we first saw it over 25 years ago when it was being developed for tape applications. We saw a lot of excellent demonstrations. The capacity potentials were breathtaking. Unfortunately, we never saw an economic, shippable product.

Does this hold true for the current version of holography? We doubt it. In fact, if we are very confident that, in three to five years, we'll see a real product, it will be expensive but real. Current projections are that it will take another three to five years for it to become cost effective.

The reason DVD hasn't eclipsed CD has absolutely nothing to do with shipping product and a promised "better" product. The industry had a vision in 1995 for the next generation storage solution. The content development, computer manufacturing, and storage industry hoped that, in the blink of an eye, we would move to the bigger, better solution. The industry believed it and forecast some breathtaking growth. Market analysts bought into the story and, suddenly, they were forecasting humongous sales for DVD. Manufacturers believed the forecasts and so did the media. When the industry experts' forecasts weren't met as was projected, people started to grumble that DVD was a failed concept and we all looked around for someone ... anyone ... to blame. Of course it was the manufacturers' fault.

There are over 60 million CD drives in use today around the globe. They cost almost nothing for the OEM to install in a system. CD-RW drives that are capable of writing -R and -RW media cost OEMs under $70. Media is basically free--$l-$3 and, surprise, for about 80 percent of the moving of data that we all do, this is sufficient. With these economic factors in place, do you feel everyone in their collective right mind is going to throw out a good storage solution for a bigger, better solution?

Recently, we were talking with a government IS manager who was weighing whether he should stick with the old tried and true MO or move to DVD. His concern was that he had to have a storage solution he could be assured would be readable in seven to ten years.

We couldn't absolutely guarantee him that, in ten years, the files he had stored on DVD would be readable. We couldn't even make that guarantee with microfilm and that technology has been around since before the computer, but we advised him to look at the prime movers for DVD. Not the drive manufacturers, but the entertainment and computer industries. They want the high capacity, low cost, universal storage solution for business, education, and entertainment applications.

In a perfect world, the DVD standards would have been developed and approved all at one time and manufacturers would have immediately produced and shipped the -ROM, -R, and -RAM products and the "discussion" would have ended. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world.

The fact is that the standards do exist today, including the ability to write media and exchange it across all devices. Products are shipping -ROM, -RAM, DVD players, and DVD recorders that will allow users to move rewritable discs from -RAM drives to any of these other devices. Is the media backward compatible to every -ROM drive that is being used today? No!

Andy Marken

Marken Communications
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Publication:Computer Technology Review
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jul 1, 2000
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